Don’t Let Holiday Hustle and Bustle Stress You Out, Simplify for a Happier Holiday

Broken Christmas ornament

Contributed by Jyoti Sachdeva, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

It will probably come as no surprise that women tend to be more prone to stress during the holidays. Let’s face it, for many households women are more likely to take on the chores associated with family celebrations. Things like gift and food shopping, meal preparation, party planning, decorating and cleaning to name just a few. And while for many these responsibilities are fun – except for cleaning, of course – there’s no denying it requires quite a time commitment. Many women report feeling as though there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

You don’t have to do it all

Before you get overwhelmed by too many responsibilities, decide which ones have the most positive impact on yourself and your family. In other words, simplify. After you’ve chosen what’s most important, follow these tips to keep stress at a minimum.

  • Plan ahead. If you’re preparing the holiday meal, give yourself as much lead time as possible and freeze the dishes that you can. This will help you with time management on the day of your event. Same goes for holiday gift shopping. You don’t have to wait until Christmas Eve to start buying presents.
  • Enlist help. There’s no reason you should have to bear the entire burden of holiday celebrations. The great part about this time of year is that you’re usually surrounded by family and friends – all you have to do is ask for help.
  • Take shortcuts. There’s no shame in doing things on a smaller scale. For instance, if you usually send 50 Christmas cards, cut down your list or send an e-card to make it easier on yourself.
  • Make a list and check it twice. There’s nothing worse than shopping all day only to find out you’ve forgotten something. It may be a good idea to type your shopping list on your cell phone as you’re less likely to forget your cell phone at home unlike a handwritten list that may get left behind.
  • Make sure to set aside time for yourself. Schedule 30 minutes of quiet time to read a book, take a hot bath or exercise at the gym. It’s important not to ignore your own needs.

Remember, you don’t have to do it all! Ask for help.

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