It’s past Halloween now, meaning the holiday season is coming up — finally — and with it comes stress. Stress about decorating, buying presents, spending time with loved ones and making memories, whether it’s going to a light show or decorating cookies.
For a lot of people, stress can take over the holiday season and take away from the joy it’s supposed to bring. Plus, not everyone has a family or friends to make memories with, which contributes to the loneliness of the season. If you fit into either category, please make sure to take time to yourself and seek whatever help you may need.
The first step in helping keep the holidays from turning into a “stress mess” is to plan. First, list all of the things you want to do this holiday season, like Black Friday shopping, ice skating, watching holiday movies, etc. Then, if there’s anyone you would like to do those things with, ask them so you can coordinate time into your schedules. If not, then find time for yourself in your schedule for whenever you would like to. The desire to make everything perfect adds to the stress levels during the season, and while there is no way to make every memory perfect, what matters is that you try. Try to simplify your plans if it makes it easier.
- be flexible
Things can change at the last minute. Not every plan is made concrete, no matter how much time goes into it. People run late, traffic happens, and all sorts of other factors affect it. Again, know that the effort you put in is what matters, and at the end of the day, it’ll be a memory to last a lifetime, even if it was delayed 15 minutes.
If you’ve spent days in a row shopping, going out or visiting friends and family and you need time to recharge, take it. Even if you work or go to school, find those few minutes you have of free time to read your favorite book or do a face mask. Trust me, in the long run, it’ll pay off to have little breaks here and there and not have it all built up by the end of the season.
- take pictures
Make sure to take plenty of pictures, either in front of the Christmas tree at the mall, baking cookies or decorating. Sure, it may feel stressful not being able to find the perfect gift, burning the cookies or not being able to find the perfect spot for your favorite decor piece, but when you look back at the pictures, all you will remember is the happiness you felt by the end of it instead of the little things that made you sigh because it wasn’t working out at the time.
Some of the activities I’m planning are drinking hot chocolate with a candy cane, watching “A Bad Moms Christmas,” ice skating, Christmas gift shopping and cooking with my family. They’re simple plans that I know won’t stress me out too much, and I plan to take many pictures to capture the memories for years to come. Even though you can plan for a stress-free holiday, stress can — and probably will — happen. It’s just a part of life. No matter what, try to enjoy the upcoming holiday season by celebrating with friends, family and pets, if any, while minimizing stress and creating joy for yourself.