Minimizing Holiday Stress

bigstock-Christmas-Seamless-Pattern-Wit-24446030Shopping for the holidays puts many people under additional stress: from spending money they don’t have, to long wish lists from kids or family members, to the time it takes to fulfill these desires-turned-demands.

My first suggestion is to trim your gift-giving list. In our family, we went from buying presents for 15 people to just the kids, which was initially 4, and grew to be 6, but is still much more reasonable. Also, my husband and I don’t exchange gifts as we take a trip for our anniversary the next month, and his birthday is right around Christmas, so he gets a birthday gift, which is usually an experience (comedy club, weekend trip, performing arts event).

To trim things even further, use The Rule of 4. I didn’t make this up, but I sure love it. Here’s how it works: Every person that you intend to buy gifts for gets only 4 things:

Something you need.

Something you want.

Something to read.

Something to wear.

For a 12 year old child, this could mean: a graphing calculator for school, a video game, a biography about their favorite sports star, and a nice shirt.

For a 4 year old child: finger paints and paper, a special toy, a book about their favorite animal, and new pajamas.

For a teenager: a piece of luggage with a special slot for their laptop, a new laptop (hidden inside the luggage?), a book by their favorite author – or one that you loved at that age, and a leather jacket.

You’re not limited by amount spent in this way, but it will cause you to be a more creative giver and your recipients will have less “filler” or “junk” items that will eventually get broken and tossed out. You’ll save yourself countless dollars in the impulse-buy section of the checkout lane on things that are “so cute and just $5”, and your gifts will be more thoughtful. Win, win!

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Holiday Stress by Tara Dickherber, LPC

0taThis week’s blog comes directly from Tara Dickherber, LPC, an amazing RRT® therapist in St. Charles, MO. This article was originally posted in the Women’s Power Networking blog on November 25, 2013. 

The holidays are full blown upon us. So much I have been forgetting to post here on my little blog…
Let me begin with I hope your holidays are wonderful- filled with smiles and laughter!

Let’s get real though, holidays tend to be slightly if not full blown stressful. How about some suggestions for managing that?

  1. Schedule time for yourself FIRST!! We are all different in the down time we require, but we all require some down time. Schedule that FIRST before anything else. Schedule time to just read, crochet, meditate, what ever your down time requires.
  2. Set a limit on your budget and stick to it as best you can. Believe me I get it. I have one child and I’d LOVE to spend tons of money on her this time of year; and her birthday falls in the realm of the holidays as well. I limit it though. We also have a set amount of what we spend on others and we stick to that as best we can too. (Yes I’m human, yes I break the rules sometimes too. It’s OK! Just stay out of bankruptcy when it comes to presents!!!)
  3. This is a tad too late but one thing find that eliminates most of my holiday stress is getting the present shopping done EARLY. Yep my shopping is 95% done by November. I grab things as they go on sale and as I find them through out the year. You will NEVER catch me shopping on Black Friday. That’s land me on some serious psychiatric medications. I know it’s a fun thing for some but not me.
  4. If there are some toxic relatives or friends that you will be around during the holidays limit your time with them. Keep conversations short and sweet. Keep actual face to face time short and sweet. Sometimes that means just move to another room and hang with someone else, sometimes that means shorten your time actually there.
  5. As crazy as you may think this is…lower your expectations. Due to society, the media what ever we have this idea that the holidays are supposed to be perfect and amazing. Get real! We are spending holidays with people who have their own issues and those issues come right out when around others and let’s be real here many holidays come with alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t help either. Did you ever see that skit from Mad TV’s “Lowered Expectations?”
  6. Watch what you eat and get some exercise. Seriously!! Food greatly effects our moods. And exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make us feel better. Exercise relieves stress, less stress more tolerance for stress….it’s a win win. I possibly exercise more during the holidays than any other time. I get out and walk, if I’m out of town and there’s an in-door pool at the hotel I swim laps. I get my kiddo out with me too.
  7. That being said get outside if it’s possible!! Pet your pets. Take the dog for a walk….

There ya go…some things to ponder.

So Be Well, be Joyful!
Tara S. Dickherber, LPC

Contact Tara for a consultation at 573-754-0348. Read more at her Blog and follow her on Facebook.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.