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Five tips for a stress-free holiday season

The holidays are coming. For many of us it’s the best time of the year. Outside it’s cold and dark, but inside it’s cosy and warm with Christmas lights and decorations. Yet, for some people, the holiday season is a time of stress and anxious feelings. Where to celebrate Christmas, what to cook for Christmas dinner, what gifts to buy… And to make matters worse, your already busy schedule is even busier with Christmas parties and obligations like helping out at your school’s Christmas market. And you’re probably working longer hours, too. It’s enough to make anyone stress out! Here are some tips to survive the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Plan, plan, plan…

Holiday stress spikes to unprecedented levels when the unexpected happens. An appointment that you overlooked. Realising that you’re out of glue the night before you’re supposed to exchange Sinterklaas ‘surprises’. What about getting a Christmas tree? This is often left to the very last moment, which means you end up with a pathetic little tree. These ‘oops’ moments can be avoided if you plan ahead. A smart move is to prepare and plan for the holiday season well ahead of time. Round up your family members and synchronise your diaries. What’s on everyone’s agenda? Are there any deadlines? What preparations need to be made? Make a ‘to do list’ and check it daily to avoid surprises.

Forget about perfection

Unfortunately, the media dictates what a perfect Christmas should be. A happy family sitting at a beautifully laid table and sharing a dinner that Mum cooked to picture-postcard perfection in cosy, tastefully decorated home with a beautiful Christmas tree with a pile of shiny gift boxes underneath. So, how do you make that happen this year? The shocking but truthful answer to that question is: you don’t. The image of a magical, ideal, storybook Christmas that is advertised is unattainable. Don’t make it hard on yourself by trying to live up to that image. The perfect Christmas is what you make of it. Whether it’s Christmas with your family or close friends, make sure you enjoy every moment.

It’s OK to say ‘no’

Some of us are hardwired to say ‘yes’ to requests but the truth is: you don’t have to go to every Christmas party or visit every family member. You cannot be in two, let alone ten places, at once. Be true to yourself and learn to be OK with saying ‘no’. Nobody will hold it against you. Christmas is a busy time for everyone.

December budget

December is the most expensive month of the year. Budgeting will help ease the financial stress the festive season brings. Make a list of what you need, how much you want to spend and stick to it. If you’re on a tight budget, try making some Christmas gifts yourself. You can also be creative with food and drinks. Make soup from leftovers and serve cheap wine in an appealing decanter. It doesn’t cost a lot, but it will look great

Remember to take care of yourself

Stress isn’t good for your body. Therefore, it’s important to take care of yourself during these stressful holiday times. Get your Christmas shopping done early. Go to bed on time, eat healthily, exercise and incorporate some ‘me time’ into your schedule.

Are you suffering from regular or ongoing stress? Then we advise you to consult a doctor or therapist. At Dokteronline.com it’s possible to consult a doctor from the comfort of your home.