You may find yourself surrounded by family, friends, food, and gifts — and stressed out of your mind. Research shows that a majority of Americans feel the holidays are the most stressful time of the year.
There are many reasons for holiday stress: stretched finances, busy schedules, family dynamics, social overload, sugar, and even short days with less sunshine can make the holiday season a not-so-peaceful one for many. There is an abundance of feelings + expectations during the holidays.
How do you fight holiday stress? The CircleOf team has put together our top four tips for making the holiday season less stressful.
Almost three-quarters of Americans find finances the most stressful thing in their lives — and that stress increases during the holiday season, when the pressure to spend on gifts, events, decor, and travel goes way up. Making a financial plan for the season can help ease the strain.
Has your financial situation changed with new caregiving responsibilities or emergency expenses this year? Have your expectations of what a good holiday season looks like changed?
Instead of dipping into savings or running up credit card debt, set a realistic spending goal. Canceling subscriptions and maximizing simple savings can help free up a little extra cash.
If spending time with your family is No. 1 on the list, maybe that means cutting out fancy gifts and hosting a family potluck instead. Or it could mean buying a few well-chosen gifts for the most important people, but not going all out for co-workers. It might even mean prioritizing family activities, like painting together, over gifts.
Talk with your family and friends and communicate your expectations and boundaries around holiday gift-giving — you may find that they’re surprisingly receptive!
Sometimes the holidays can feel like the busiest time of year. That can be incredibly stressful when you only want to hibernate at home with a hot drink and a good TV show.
The holidays are all about togetherness, but sometimes too much time with others can be overwhelming. Another way to think about it is that not having the kind of togetherness that you want in your life is also stressful and frustrating to navigate!
One key to navigating holidays is to set boundaries. Burnout isn’t limited to work. You caregivers know this more than many. Any type of chronic, unmanaged stress can trip the burnout switch.
Have holiday events on your schedule, figure out how much together and alone time you need, and prioritize the most important activities. Ask yourself: how important is this in the grand scheme of things? It’s OK to say no to social events that don’t serve you.
Make sure you include time for yourself on your schedule, too. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of anyone else. Ask for help maintaining your boundaries and keeping your dates to yourself. (Maybe a home spa night or a self-care box is in order!)
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The holiday season might not be the best time to set high expectations for some shiny new habits, but it’s a great time to pick a few core health habits and stick with them.
Four helpful habits that can be a life raft in the holiday:
Boundaries, plans, and habits can help you maintain your wellbeing through the holidays, but no plan and no person is perfect. Expect that there will be times when even your best-laid plans fall through and you end up feeling stressed, frazzled, or overbooked.
In these moments, take a deep breath and remember that you are doing the best you can. There is no completely perfect way to handle the holidays. Being conscious of your needs and setting boundaries is a huge first step, so give yourself the grace to be a less-than-perfect human.
For caregivers, holiday stress can add to an already full plate, so it’s even more important to surround yourself with a good team now. CircleOf is a completely free resource for families to build a caregiving team and find resources. We aim to help you reduce the overload of caring for
If it’s your first holiday without a loved one, consider ways to honor them that make sense for you right now. That can mean lighting a candle, writing a letter, cooking their favorite recipe, or making up a brand-new ritual (it’s good for your health).
From our personal experience and some advice from counselors, creating new rituals is one way to help deal with some of the overwhelm of the holidays in the holidays.
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For caregivers, financial planning is an important part of ensuring that their loved ones are taken care of. The Harvest Plan can help by providing a comprehensive financial plan that can cover everything from medical expenses to long-term care. This can give caregivers peace of mind knowing that their loved ones will be taken care of financially.