Despite our best efforts to remain merry and bright at all times, most of us succumb to at least a moment or two (or 10) of epic stress during the holiday season. When you feel the panic attack or Grinch-like tirade rising to the surface, here are some great tips to turn to, curated by the experts at Self:
Beware of the ‘S’ word. If you find yourself frequently saying you should be doing this or that during the holidays, stop and ask yourself what you really want to do instead. A long list of too many shoulds—aka joyless obligations—is a sure recipe for stress.
Choose three holiday experiences and forget the rest. A lot of bah humbugs are the result of exhaustion from trying to cram too much into a brief few weeks. Instead, think of the three experiences that give you the most holiday feels, such as volunteering at the senior center, hosting a cookie exchange or going to see the Nutcracker, and let the other ones go. In the end, three authentic experiences will be better than many stressful and disappointing ones.
Remember that things can go wrong and still be awesome. Holiday anxiety is often the result of striving to create unrealistic, perfect experiences. Take the pressure off by keeping a memory handy of a time when something went completely wrong and everyone still had a blast. Let it be your reminder that perfection is not always called for, and, in fact, disasters can sometimes make for the best memories.
Don’t store your credit card info. One of the biggest stress triggers during the holidays is overspending. One way to avoid doing so is taking the time to delete your stored credit card information from your computer and mobile device. This will prevent you from making last-minute impulse purchases that you’re sure to regret later.
Schedule downtime and make it non-negotiable. This may seem impossible given how busy you will be during the holiday season, but downtime will not only be your lifesaver, but also, your mood enhancer. Do this very important favor for yourself and for all those around you, as well.