The winter holidays are fast approaching and with them a host of emotions.  Whether you are experiencing anticipation or dread towards the upcoming season, there is a certain amount of stress that comes with this busy time of year.  Here are four easy tips for managing the holiday stress:

  1.  Set Expectaions – Talk with your spouse about expectations for gifts and holiday activities.   Be sure to take into consideration time and financial constraints.  The plan should be realistic because let’s face it, if it isn’t, you won’t be able to follow through.  Once you and your spouse are on the same page be sure to share those expectations with your kids.
  2. Keep things in perspective – Lots of gifts and holiday activities aren’t necessary.  Consider limiting the number of gifts and activities and instead focus on creating memories.  This does not have to be expensive or elaborate.  Fill some travel mugs with hot cocoa and spend an evening driving around to look at Christmas lights.
  3. Make Connections – The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are often loaded with parties, school programs, and social get togethers. Good relationships with family and friends are important so avoid overbooking your schedule. Be intentional with your time and choose events that allow you to connect with the people you value most.  There are also lots of volunteer opportunities this time of year that would allow you and your family to serve your community together.  Not only is this a great way to spend time as a family, it gives you the chance to make new and meaningful connections.
  4. Take care of yourself – Make time for fun and relaxing activities.  Staying rested and healthy will make the stress of the holiday season manageable.
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