Too often we take holiday stress for granted. What's worse, we often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year. Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, and stressed out. When the realities of day-to-day life conflict with our efforts to make the holiday season perfect, meltdowns happen.
It's important to implement little fixes here and there to keep us grounded and under control during super-stressful days. Ahead, are some quick and easy-to-adopt tips on how to make the best out of your holiday — without totally losing it.
Giving the perfect gifts
- Ask people what they want instead of scouring the earth to find the perfect gifts.
- Shop early, when there is more of a selection.
- If your children's wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about the family's finances this year and remind them that the holidays aren't about expensive gifts.
- The barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. When your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back and remind yourself that what makes a great celebration is loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.
- Stick to your gift budget. Utilize this great budgeting tool from Suntrust.
Planning family get-togethers
- Buy prepared foods, instead of cooking everything from scratch.
- Ask others to bring their favorite dishes.
- Cook and freeze foods ahead of time.
Scheduling time with family and friends
- Simplify holiday commitments and traditions. Discuss with your family which traditions are most important to you and to them. It's okay to re-evaluate past traditions.
- Allow time for yourself. Remember to do things that you enjoy.
- Avoid time crunches by making plans to visit some friends and family soon after the holidays.
- Don't over-schedule yourself. Allow enough time to relax and recover after visiting with others.
- Tell family members about your commitments so you are not struggling against their expectations.
- Travel after rush hour. When driving long distances, give yourself time to stop and rest.
Pausing before engulfing the holiday spread
- Pick and choose where you indulge rather than diving into every dessert tray and drinking every egg nog in sight.
- Avoid starving yourself in anticipation of eating at holiday parties. This approach can lead to eating too much of the wrong foods.
- Continue exercising and watching your diet.
Set Realistic Expectations and Take Care of Yourself
- Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.
- A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won't ruin your holiday; rather, it will create a family memory.
- Don't spend all of your time planning activities for your family. You might end up feeling drained and unappreciated.
- Take the time you need to finish tasks that are important to you. Don't try to complete everything at once.
- Ask others, including the kids, to help you complete chores.
- Rest when your body tells you to.
Check out more great tips from our friends at Suntrust.
There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you're only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do — others will benefit when you're stress- free. Go for a long walk, get a massage or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries — by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.
To get started visit suntrust.com/holiday
Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.