Before I had kids, I hardly found the holidays stressful. In fact, when people talked about the stress of the season, I was confused. Stress? What stress? For me, the holidays included sleeping in, staying at my parents’ house where all the cooking/cleaning/laundry was done (thanks mom and dad!), meeting up with friends, etc.
But now, it’s a little different. There are more people to buy gifts for (such as the kids’ teachers, postal carrier, etc.), holiday concerts to attend (yes, even at 18 months and 3 years old), long car rides with kids, plus all the gift buying and secret gift wrapping for the kids … yeah, I get where some of the stress may come from. So, how are we staying at least somewhat stress-free this time of year and into 2020? Here are 5 things we are doing:
- Take shortcuts. Find ways to make your life easier. For me this year, that has meant free Prime Now grocery delivery, Target pickup shopping, getting a fake tree and using my crockpot. They all save me time, and right now, time is what I need more of!
Our kids love our tree, even if it’s fake
- Ask for help. This can be especially hard. But it is important to remember that no matter your situation, you’re not alone. Dreading going holiday shopping with the kids in tow? Ask Grandma to watch them for a few hours. Not sure you’ll have time to get all the gifts? Split the list and the wrapping duty with your significant other. Ask a friend who is going grocery shopping to pick up the sugar you just ran out of in the middle of baking cookies. You’d be surprised — most people are more than happy to help when they can.
- Take time for YOU. This time of year, it’s easy to get carried away with getting gifts for others, but don’t forget about yourself. Do something that makes you happy and eases your stress. Whether it’s getting a manicure, going for a run, reading a book or taking a nap, find time to make sure your needs are met.
- Say no. Don’t feel the need to say yes to every holiday gathering, party, etc. that you are invited to. We turned down one birthday party and one post-work holiday event so far this year because we already had a lot going on during those weeks. I was double booked one Sunday, and in the past this may have meant me splitting my time and frantically driving from one place to another; this year, however, I committed myself to one event and stayed there. This not only meant less stress, but it allowed me to better enjoy myself.
- Give back. We often get wrapped up in finding the most Pinterest-worthy teacher gifts, or Instagram-worthy holiday photo that we forget the true meaning of the season. Knowing you’re doing something to help others can remind you what the holidays are all about — and perhaps ease some of the stress you’re putting on yourself. My family and I organize an Adopt a Family program where we adopt local families in need and provide gifts, groceries and food. It’s wonderful buying things and dropping off gifts for those who actually need it. It’s something our whole family participates in and we can teach our kids about as they get older.
Dropping off Adopt a Family gifts
with the whole family
What are some ways you’re beating stress this time of year?