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How to manage holiday stress
While it’s touted as “the most wonderful time of the year,” the holidays can certainly bring a fair amount of stress to families across the country.
One 2006 study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that the most common sources of stress during the holiday season include:
• Lack of time or money
• Pressures related to gift-giving
• Family gatherings
Though these pressures are difficult to avoid during this time of year, there are ways to manage holiday stress.
Everyone wants to be able to give the perfect gift. That internal pressure, combined with encouragement from seemingly everywhere to spend more make for a pretty nerve-wracking couple of weeks. Charity Wilkinson-Truong, a clinical psychologist at Rutgers University and Stress & Anxiety Services of New Jersey, spoke to Gannett New Jersey about this stressor and urged shoppers to rethink their shopping strategies.
“Think back on gifts you’ve been given that are most meaningful,” she advised. “They’re usually not the most expensive ones. So giving somebody a gift is really about knowing that person, caring about them. We really get hung up on dollar amounts, but dollar amounts don’t reflect our affection for people.”
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to find the perfect gift. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, and your good friends and family will appreciate any sort of gift, card or donation in their name that you choose.
Holiday hosting stress
Planning a big get-together can be fun and taxing at the same time. A family feast is something to look forward to, but making sure everything is in order can be challenging. There are groceries to buy, halls to deck and many dishes to prepare.
With some time before the bulk of the winter holidays, now is an excellent time to prepare your kitchen for the impending cooking marathon. The better you stock your pantry and organize your fridge now, the easier it’ll be to navigate when it’s time to begin your baking spree, The Washington Post pointed out.
Remember, plenty of foods can be kept fresh in the freezer, like loaves of bread or baking essentials like butter and milk. Stock up on these now so you don’t have to worry about it during your last-minute grocery shopping trips.
Also, if you have a major kitchen appliance that’s near the end of its life span, consider replacing it sooner rather than later. Cooking with a new oven or storing goods in your new refrigerator can make the holiday meal preparation just a little bit more exciting.
Though it didn’t make Greenberg Quinlan Rosner’s list of top five stressors, travel-related stress was found to be among the top concerns of people around this time of year. If you want to avoid crowds, The New York Times suggested traveling on the holiday itself, rather than during the days leading up to it. There will be fewer crowds and shorter lines. Additionally, if you’re traveling with gifts, consider shipping them separately so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of them on your journey.
While the holidays are a time of coming together and celebrating friends, family and tradition, they always have a way of bringing an undue amount of stress. By planning ahead and rethinking your holiday strategies, you can mitigate some of these concerns and focus on the spirit of the season.