The song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”says it all. There is always that inevitable charm once the holiday season kicks in. Everything starts to look perfect as societies transform from dull, grey streets into lit-up wonderlands with Santa Clauses and Christmas trees. Mainstream media has constantly portrayed the season as this incredibly magical and intensely optimistic holiday. It’s all picture-perfect.But in reality, it’s not all joy– it’s also the most stressful time of the year.
Holiday madness is nothing new. According to a 2015 study conducted by Healthline as cited by Harvard, “62% percent of respondents described their stress level as “very or somewhat” elevated during the holidays, while only 10 percent reported no stress during the season.” According to the same respondents, (1) the financial demands, (2) the interpersonal dynamics during gatherings, and (3) personal health habits are among the top stressors during the season. So how do you keep your sanity during this time of the year? Here are some tips to take control of the holidays:
- The Season of Remembering…Too. Many. Things.
- Create a budget and actually stick to it.
It’s not Christmas without the gifts, the food and the booze! Shopping definitely takes the cake as one of the top holiday stressors. Allot a day in your week and sit down, make a list and create a budget for each category (e.g. gifts, party needs, etc.) Then try really hard to stick to your budget. Remember, happiness and love do not equate to how much something costs!
- Fill those last 30 days with lists, schedules and notes.
Being spontaneous may be good at times, but not during the last month of the year. Actually using your dusty planner, or at least a trusty sticky-notepad to schedule and list down notes can help chop off a good chunk of unnecessary stress during the holidays! Deciding where, when, and what to shop and buy, how much money to spend will prevent those horrific “I forgot” moments and last-minute scramble. Set aside days for shopping, cooking, and other activities- plan, prioritize and pursue. Thank me later!
2. The Season of Obligations
The coming of the holidays is also the coming of more and more obligations with reunions and parties happen from left to right.
- The "No" option
Office parties, reunions, family gatherings- for some reason- all seem to fall down on the right, unobstructed dates and you can’t get out of it! But don’t we always have another option to saying yes? You can say no to some gatherings! Overwhelming yourself in an already overwhelming season can do no good to you, nor to anyone. It’s better to go to parties that you actually want to be in, instead of just dragging your feet and feeling way too tired after. Don’t worry, there is always 365 days in a year to make up for the lost time.
- Embrace the couch potato in you.
It’s almost the end of another full year. Don’t you deserve a day when you can do whatever you want? Give yourself a break! It’s a must to actually feel the holiday spirit especially if you’ve been working your butt all year round. Finding something to do that symbolizes “goodbye” to your year-long stress – or lack of activities thereof (no judgment at all) is something to consider during the season. Whether it is travelling to clear your mind, taking a short walk, getting a massage or just putting on your pajamas and eating ice cream the whole day- embrace it. You deserve it.
3. The Season of Emotional Triggers
The coming of the holidays can have memories– whether good or bad– swooping right in. The iconic season has inevitably been part of our lives which has created bundles of various moments, experiences and life changes to come back to. It also marks the end of the year which also highlights all the lows and highs. According to Monika Roots, a psychiatrist at Teladoc, “64 percent of people say their mental health stress level increases exponentially around this time of year”. Here are some tips to make these triggers a lil’ bit better:
- Acknowledge the memories.
Going home, seeing old friends, hearing that Christmas song can naturally make people remember the good old times which may not necessarily be all joyful and nostalgic. According to assistant professor from Harvard University Medical School assistant professor Ken Duckworth “During the holidays, a lot of childhood memories come back, you may find yourself dwelling on what was inadequate about your childhood and what was missing.” Not only childhood memories, there may be moments, places and people specifically associated to the holidays that had an unpleasant time in your life. These are some things that can cause some internal stress. Hence, changing your outlook is very important. Instead of dwelling on these memories, try to re-create the holidays by changing it up a little bit and making it your own. Asking a professional for help can also significantly help.
- Acknowledge the changes.
It’s almost the end of the year. The transition into the holiday spirit can actually serve as a countdown to New Year’s Day. The season basically highlights the crucial happenings that made you the most happy, stressed, sad, relieved and whatnot. The changes such as a promotion, new love, heartbreaks, deaths, and more are totally part of anyone’s year-end reflections. These reflections can also add to holiday stress and anxiety. Accepting it, and embracing the cliché fact that everything happens for a reason can help you move forward and strive for more growth.
The holidays is indeed a wonderful time of the year. But for it to be seamlessly wonderful, one needs to put in ample amount of time, effort and preparation. This isn’t to say that the holidays is a totally hard and stressful season. It can truly be as magical and as picture-perfect as we want it to be, and more. But recognizing the madness it also brings can give you enough room to plan, organize and prepare. It’s possible to keep your sanity, ladies! Just remember to plan the holidays well, take time for yourself and acknowledge the changes. Happy Holidays!
While the holiday season is an exciting time, the reality is, we still have to go to work. So I thought of a way for all of you to still feel the Christmas spirit while at your desk. Here are some free Christmas themed desktop wallpapers you can download. I also made motivational wallpapers that matches the Miss Greene Luxe line - perfect for those who purchased the desk organizers I designed myself.