How to Cope with Christmas Stress

The holidays are almost here, which means, if you’re like most women, you’re probably experiencing a lot of stressful feelings right about now. A recent survey found that Christmas stress was second only to financial problems (which, let’s face it, can contribute to Christmas stress) on the things people most commonly worry about.Christmas Stress

What causes Christmas stress? The answers to this question differ for everyone, but most commonly, people feel harried and hurried as the Christmas holidays approach. There’s the stress of planning Christmas gatherings, seeing family you might not have seen for almost a year, hoping the house looks just right, hoping everything tastes great, and hoping that no holiday disagreements break out among your family members. Then there’s the stress of trying to buy the “perfect” gift for everyone on your Christmas list (and have you noticed, that list keeps getting longer every year?!) Shopping at Christmastime can cause even the most laid-back person to feel stressed out, what with the crowds, the noise, the traffic, and the prices.

If we just had to deal with the stressful parts of Christmas and that’s all at this time of year, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But, on top of the added stress the holidays bring, we still have the daily stress of our everyday lives to contend with. Besides keeping the household running, going to work, taking care of our families, and shuttling our kids to and fro, the Christmas stress bomb drops on us right after Thanksgiving, compounding our feelings of “I have so much to do and so little time in which to do it!”

So how can we deal with the stress monster known as Christmas? Here are some tips:

1.      Plan your gift list according to your budget, and stick to it. If you write out everyone you plan to buy for this year, and figure out what you can afford, you’re more apt to stick to your list and not go overboard.

2.      Keep up with your diet and exercise during the holiday season. Exercise is a great stress-buster, and never more important than during the holidays. You need to keep eating as healthy as possible and drinking plenty of water as well. Staying hydrated will help even the most worrisome tasks not seem as bad.

3.      Use your time management skills wisely and plan ahead as much as possible. This can prevent the last-minute harried shopping and party planning that so often accompanies the holidays.

4.      When you need it, ask for help. Remember you’re not Superwoman – no one (except yourself, maybe) expects you to be able to do it all. If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, ask each guest to bring a dish or drink. If you need to run Junior to soccer practice and can’t make a friend’s holiday party, ask another friend or family member totake over your taxi duties. Ask your significant other to help in the Christmas shopping this year. Seriously – when was the last time he actually bought a Christmas present for anyone but you, anytime before December 23?

5.      Keep in mind that you’re not expected to be a peacemaker among family members at Christmas. Disagreements, arguments and even fights might break out at a holiday gathering, but that’s ok. It’s not something you can plan, it’s just something to be aware of. If it happens, the blame should not fall solely on you.