7 ways to reduce holiday stress | #holidays #thanksgiving #giftgiving

Last week one of my social media friends posted that she was at Cracker Barrel where the holiday decorations are already out.  I was a Michael’s, and they had fall and Christmas decor all ready to go!

No, you don’t have to have your table set for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but you can think ahead and greatly reduce stress during a time of the year that is meant to spend with friends and loved ones.

You don’t have to be shopping for gifts the night before and staying up all night to wrap them.  You don’t have to be rushing to the store the day before Thanksgiving to purchase pre-made food.  You can choose to be organized and intentional in how your holidays will go.

Here are a few tips that will help you as you think ahead to the holidays.

1.  Plan ahead.

Will you host Thanksgiving at your house or join your parents or in-laws?  Do you want to have just immediate family, some extended family, or a huge gathering of family and friends?  You can read more here.

7 ways to reduce holiday stress #gift #cleaning #company #holidays

2.  Fall clean as soon as possible.

Maybe you want to begin this week and deep clean one room per week.  Perhaps you want to clean all your windows one week, all your bathrooms the next week, and all your closets the week after.  Yet another way is to make a list of everything you want to accomplish and set your timer every day for twenty minutes.

Either way, make a plan, and schedule time in your calendar as you would for an important appointment, and get it done.  When the middle of November is here, and your house has been deep cleaned as never before, you will thank yourself!

3.  Get plenty of rest.

When you have much to do, it’s important to rest so that your body and brain can function at their best.  You can read this article about feeling your best this fall, this one about avoiding the flu, and this one about what to do when you get the flu.

Rest is important for your body to repair itself.  You may not think you have time to rest, but I guarantee you that you don’t have time to be ill! 

4.  Prioritize and say no.

One of my faults that I am still working on is that everything tends to be a priority.  Thankfully, I am learning to say “no,” not because I don’t like the person asking for a favor or that I don’t think the person needs help.  In the past I’ve overextended myself and have hurt myself more than anyone else.

If your volunteering hours are already maxed out and you receive a new opportunity, saying “yes” to it means saying “no” to something else.

Running around like crazy is not a badge of honor.  Most people that I know who are on the go 24/7 are stressed out and/or resentful.

5.  Put family above others. 

Previously, my husband and I were very involved in the music ministry of our church.  During November and December, it took much extra time from us (in addition to our usual commitments).  We decided that the December music program was going to be our only extra commitment that moth.

We said no to all the other parties and get-togethers, even to some extended family functions.

7 ways to reduce your holiday stress - gift list, holidays, shopping, stress

6.  Make your gift list early.

You want to be finished with your gift list by middle of October.  It does not need to be a mile long, yet you do not want to forget anyone special to you.

Again, you need to decide if you will be giving just to immediate family members, to all your extended family members, to co-workers, and/or clients.

holidays, gifts, stress, holiday shopping

7.  Give gifts at or before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is usually spent with the people dearest to us, and those are the people we often overlook in our daily lives while we take care of everyone else.  Take time to thank them during this special time.  You never know how long you will have them with you.

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If you are stressed out about shopping for gifts this year, download my free holiday gift guide here!

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