De-stress your holidays


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De-stress your holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time. For many of us, ‘tis the season to overdo, overspend and overcommit. Did you know that Americans spend an average of 42 hours on holiday activities each year? That is more than a work week full of shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc.

The good news is, the holidays don’t have to be so hectic. The key is anticipating your stress triggers and taking steps to reduce (or avoid) them—so you can focus on the things you value most. Here are a few tips for a stress free holiday:

1. Plan ahead. Set aside certain days for shopping, cleaning, wrapping and cooking

2. Stick to a budget. (For both food and gifts.)Overspending is the most common financial problem families face this time of year. Instead of buying a pile of gifts you cannot afford, try these alternatives:

  • Do a gift exchange
  • Donate to charity in someone’s name
  • Give homemade gifts or IOUs
  • Do a group gift that everyone can enjoy (event tickets, vacation, electronics)

3. Shop smart. Shop early and ask people what they want instead of spending hours searching for that perfect gift. Up to 33% of all Americans return a gift after the holidays.

4. Delegate. Let go of your need to make everything perfect and ask others to decorate, wrap gifts, bring a side dish, etc.

5. Pick and choose. If certain must-do activities leave you tired, you can always skip them this year (or at least cut back). Do you really need to bake 6 different types of cookies when 2 or 3 are enough?

Using these tips will help you feel less stressed, more in control of your time and may even a little bit jollier. When you plan ahead to eliminate stress it is amazing how rewarding the holidays can be.

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