Stress. It’s all around, all the time. Who would like to break up with stress? Me! I’m guessing that many of you would also like to de-stress, which is a task that seems nearly impossible as we move into the busy holiday season. If you’re looking for tips on how to reduce holiday stress, then you’ve come to the right place. We here at MomsTribute, one of the top blogs for moms, are always on top of the best tips and tricks for busy working moms.
Let’s consider some of the top reasons for stress during the holidays, and then we’ll consider how to fix them.
It will surprise approximately zero people that finances are, statistically, one of the biggest holiday stressors. In fact, studies tell us that over 69% of people surveyed admitted they spend way too much during this time of year.
When you think about it, it makes total sense. We have holiday parties, gifts, elaborate meals, themed days that require costumes or crazy sweaters, and more. While most people absolutely love participating in whichever events their personal community of people holds, it can be financially draining.
Do the expectations of others set your heart to racing? It could be that you fear they’ll expect more than you can provide. It might be that you’re expected to spend time with people with whom you know you don’t get along. Or maybe meeting other people’s expectations costs you more—both financially and emotionally—than you desire to spend.
If so, you’re not alone. Surveys show that roughly 30% of people experience spikes in their stress level during the holiday season specifically from the need to meet other people’s expectations.
Another leading cause of stress during the holiday season is the typical overpacked schedule. Starting sometime in mid-October, American families have harvest parties, trick-or-treats, fall-themed field trips, huge family meals such as Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, and then a regular barrage of winter-themed activities, parties, and events. Add all of that to your normal work, school, and chore load and it quickly becomes overwhelming.
How typical is it for the busy working mom to get overbooked for the holidays? Well, studies reveal that roughly 40% of people surveyed said they experience stress due to time planning.
How to Handle the Stress
There isn’t an easy answer to any of these overwhelming problems. The truth is that while steps can be taken, it falls on you to take them. Here are a few pointers.
This might be the single best piece of advice for all three of the top stressors covered in this blog post.
Firstly, plan for your finances, starting now. How much do you want to spend? How much can you afford to spend? In my own household, I am re-working my grocery budget to cut out extras that we can stand to do without over the next 8-10 weeks. This will free up a little money for other extras we’ll need, such as Halloween costumes and school party goodies.
You might also find it beneficial to figure out small ways to bring in extra cash. This is often easier said than done. However, if you have a niche which can bring you a bigger cash flow, utilize it!
Secondly, planning ahead can also help you as you are faced with the influx of people and their expectations. If you know you’ll be spending time with people who aren’t your cup of tea, consider and create a dialogue ahead of time. Direct the conversation and keep things light. In a different vein, maybe you know you’ll be in charge of your child’s ball team Christmas get-together. Start planning now so you won’t feel overwhelmed by expectations when December rolls around.
Once again, making a plan can also help when you need to avoid overpacking your schedule for the next three months. Make a list of what is most important to you. Be sure, though, to leave a little wiggle room for spontaneous fun—you don’t want to squelch creativity with your kids, if the mood strikes to go ice skating (and don’t forget to use the KFV app to find the best kids friendly venue in your area!) Once your list is in hand (or in your head), you’ll be able to plan ahead and make sure you have time for what matters most.
Setting boundaries and saying “no” as needed are skills that are often learned little by little, over time. It can be difficult to stand your ground for your own mental health but take my word for it and you will be glad you did. And here’s a hint! Your kids will thank you for taking that stand, when their mom is happier and more joyful during this special holiday season!