• Aging Well Denver

A Stress Free Holiday Season? It Is Possible!

If you've been inside any department store lately or even Costco, you might be thinking that we're a week from Christmas rather than a week from Halloween. It seems the Holiday prep starts creeping in earlier and earlier every year. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the thought of gift gifting, party planning and holiday food prep already then you're not alone. A 2017 study done by the US Highbush Blueberry Council shows that 31 percent of people describe the holiday season as "frantic" and more than half experience anxiety over gift giving and crowds and lines. So what can you do to eliminate some of the stress from your life? We have some tips to make your holiday season go more smoothly.

Get the small things out of the way early. You may not be the type to have your whole list done by Thanksgiving but even so - plan ahead for some of the smaller gifts that start to feel trivial the closer it gets to the deadline. Get your tips together for people like the mail carrier or trash collector done early. There's no reason you can't have that card written out in advance so you aren't chasing them down the road on the 23rd with a 20 dollar bill. Do the same with teacher gifts and holiday donations.

Look ahead. Try to keep your social calendar under control. It's tempting to say yes to every holiday party but if you only enjoy being out one night a week then trying to squeeze your office party, your friends' white elephant party and a neighborhood cookie exchange into the same weekend isn't going to feel good. Say no to things you aren't that interested in and prioritize - trust us, it's not the end of the world.

Don't go too crazy with treats. Hey, we totally understand indulging here and there and we certainly don't want you to miss out on your seasonal favorites (pumpkin pie anyone?) but holiday get-togethers and, even just the office breakroom, tend to be places where you find yourself mindlessly eating this time of year. Focus on eating healthy, filling foods and skip the candy corn and basket of mini muffins. You'll feel better, avoid the midday slump, and those extra pounds.

Set a budget. This can be as strict or as loose as you need it to be. Don't get sucked into buying more and more in an effort not to disappoint anyone. Be mindful and think about what you actually want to get for someone instead of just going for the crazy deals that are "too good to pass up." Don't buy a gift without knowing who it's for. This sounds silly but we've all been suckered into buying a toolkit and then have no one to give it to. Knowing roughly how much you're going to be spending and sticking to it can eliminate some of the stress that comes with this time of year.

Ask for help. If Thanksgiving is always at your house but you aren't into it this year, that's okay! Ask your usual guests if they would mind switching houses this year or even suggest sharing the workload. Chances are that they won't mind a bit and will even be happy to help. Most of us take on much more than we are expected to just because we've been doing it for so long.

The bottom line? Try to slow down and actually enjoy this time of year! Get plenty of rest, don't play the comparison game and spend time with the people you love!

Does holiday stress get to you? Let us know how you combat it in the comments below!