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Stress Less- Beat Holiday Chaos

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Every year I make a holiday “bucket list” with the kids where we decide on everything we HAVE to do before the end of the year. It starts off with good intentions and then we get busy, accomplish 3 things on the list and I feel like I’ve failed my children and ruined the spirit of Christmas. Nobody ever said I’m not dramatic… For real though, after several years of the ridiculous stress I put myself through I have finally come up with a winning strategy to beat the holiday chaos! The kids make memories, I lose my Grinch status, everyone wins!

So here are my stress less, enjoy more tips.

  1. Be mindful. We’re supposed to take this holiday time to be grateful for what we have, but when you’re trying to buy everyone and their mom a gift while working within a budget, people drive like jerks and your schedule somehow triples, it gets hard. So enjoy the little things. Be patient and look at how much your kids enjoy your efforts. Be thankful that you have people in your life to buy gifts for. Smile every time you want to flip someone off. I promise, you’ll feel less stressed!
  2. Manage your time. Make your to do lists, gifts to buy list, moments you want to capture list. Just list your butt off! Once it’s out of your brain and you have something you can physically cross off, you’ll feel like you’re accomplishing something even if it doesn’t feel like much.
  3. Wrap each gift as you buy them. I watched my parents for all 29 years of my life so far, scramble Christmas Eve to wrap gifts and I’ll tell you what, that sucks the joy for everyone. I have used my closet, office, bathroom, wherever I can find a lock, to wrap gifts as they come in. No stress! I enjoy Christmas Eve with my family and the only job I have to do is make sure Santa has gluten free cookies and the gifts are put under the tree. I’d rather wrap for 5-10 minutes a day instead of 3 hours straight.
  4. Decorate right after Thanksgiving. Many times I have good intentions to decorate until I get busy, the days fly by, and I’m on my roof putting lights up on the 23rd so I can at least pretend I’m a part of the neighborhood. Same goes for in the house. Just get it done and enjoy it, it tends to be a long weekend for most anyways.
  5. Workout. I hear from a lot of clients that they are too busy and stressed to workout. Wrong! You are building the stress by not getting any of it out through physical activity. Can’t lift? So what, at least go for a walk and release some of that anxiety.
  6. December calendar. I create a large calendar and start by listing important dates, i.e. parties, school performances, gift exchanges, etc. Then I fill it in with routine stuff like soccer practice, dinners with families, and then whatever is left gets filled in with things like visit Santa, holiday scavenger hunt, family movie night… All of the things that are important for our memories- our traditions.
  7. Shop online. People will piss you off. They will be rude, drive poorly and lines suck. You also tend to go out to eat more frequently at this time because shopping and dealing with people makes you hungry. So skip the drama and shop online. You don’t have to put a bra on and most of the time you can get the best deals by shopping around on Google. Have a glass of wine and shop in sweats from the comfort of your own home.
  8. Buy wine in bulk! I’m joking. Sort of… A glass of wine and a hot bath take me from burnt out and crabby to relaxed and rejuvenated. I drink a lot of wine during the holidays and my husband appreciates it. I think I’ve read several articles about it being good for you and all, right? Everything in moderation.
  9. Gift experiences or donate. One of our happiest Christmas’s was when we donated to an animal shelter in lieu of giving gifts. We started with a budget that we quickly blew, bought supplies from thrift stores and the pet shop, donated the items and made a little picture pamphlet of what we had done to give out to people. Everyone loved it! AND my kids got another experience on the true gift of giving. Another idea is to gift future experiences. Take a loved one to a play or museum,etc., buying the tickets ahead of time. The gift of your time can’t be beat and there’s nothing to wrap 🙂
  10. Donate and volunteer. Clear clutter out of your house that will benefit others. You get an organized house, someone else gets a needed item. Thinking about things that you may take for granted, like a blanket or coat, offers a new perspective on what’s really important and make you feel good when you help. I honestly believe that the more we do for others, the more peace in our lives we have.

I hope that this list has given you a few ideas on how to cope better during this stressful holiday season! Being organized, efficient and grateful can make all the difference.

Happy holidays!

xo-jessica-signature

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