The holidays are supposed to energize and recharge us. But for some, the holidays are a source of stress. Cleaning the house before and after parties, cooking meals for various get-togethers and shopping for a long list of items have a way of crowding out one’s necessary times for rest and relaxation. How do you beat holiday stress and truly enjoy the holidays? Here are some thoughts.Establish a plan.Writing down a holiday plan structures your schedule so that you can complete more tasks each day. Rather than waking up each morning groping for what to do-and wasting precious minutes while doing so-write down everything you need to accomplish and cross out the list, one task at a time.Prepare bake-and-freeze goodies early.Rather than stressing yourself out cooking up each meal for each get-together you’ll be attending, consider baking a big batch which you can just divide and freeze. You can then label or color-code several plastic containers of food according to where you’ll be bringing the item to– such as for office, school, club, family or church.
Buy your gifts throughout the year.If you buy gifts during Christmas, you are essentially lumping your gift list along with your baking supply and grocery list. And when you add to that the seasonal problem of holiday crowds at groceries, you’ll be too stressed-out doing shopping to do anything else other than put away your groceries when you get home. A good idea would be to have a gift list with you in your purse or wallet throughout the year so that you can just buy a gift of two whenever you’re shopping. Store those gifts in a designated box, ready for gift-giving season.If you can help it, limit the number of parties you’ll be attending.It is not wise to overtax yourself with an endless gig of partying. The holiday season is meant to give you ample time to rest. Too frequent cooking and too many sleepless nights rob you of the joys of the holidays. Limit the functions you are attending to those which really mean a lot to you. Politely decline the other less-important invitations.Consider hosting a party outside of your home.When you host a party right in your home, you will find yourself obliged to clean before and after the event. However, if you reserve a community center, for example, minimal clean-up is required after the party. And the sweetest part of it is that you’ll come home to an untouched home.Consider having a potluck.
Preparing a 7-course meal for 7 families would be the shortest route to holiday stress. Instead, consider hosting a potluck party where everyone can chip in a dish to share with everyone else. You’ll save time, money and lots of energy while doing so.Do not veer away too much from your pre-holiday schedule.If your pre-holiday schedule is a healthy one where exercise, rest, work and leisure are reasonably balanced, you would do well to try to keep it that way during the holidays. Straying away too far from your usual sleeping, exercising and eating times will leave you out of sync.Do not obsess.Worrying too much about making a good impression will just leave you stressed-out. Try not to be a perfectionist or an obsessive-compulsive. When you try to relax and take it easy, you can better enjoy the season.
Jeremy Oms is a lead food specialist at NewFoodCenter, dedicated to building a community of smart grocery shoppers in your area. For more tips on how to manage stressful holidays or find how to make a holiday budget, go to New Food Center today!