Which holiday activities cause you stress? Spending time with your in-laws? Preparing holiday meals? Making sure all the gifts are wrapped in time? If these tasks leave you feeling overwhelmed, follow these tips to make the season more enjoyable.
1. Be realistic. Existing family problems don't magically go away around the holidays. In fact, the pressure to be together can make them seem worse. It's OK to take a step back or spend time with a friend who can calm you down.
2. Write it down. Make a list of things you need to do, and plan your time so you can take care of several errands on one trip.
3. Prioritize. You don’t have to attend every party. Instead, focus on the events that matter the most to you and your family.
4. Eat right. It's tempting to indulge when you're surrounded by treats. Take the time to eat balanced meals, and keep snacks to a minimum. Not only will it prevent you from overeating; healthy meals will also help you maintain your energy level.
5. Don't drink too much. Excessive drinking can make you feel more anxious. When you're intoxicated, you're also more likely to do or say something you may later regret.
6. Set limits. Figure out your gift-buying budget, and stay within it so you don’t stress out when the credit card bills arrive. Or, better yet, pay in cash.
7. Get a head start. If you’re sending gifts, buy those first—and do it early—to make sure they arrive at their destination on time.