The media generally depict the holiday season as a magical time of generosity and learning lessons. Behind all that “magic” are hardworking people trying to live up to unrealistic expectations (that we set for ourselves). Which leads me to this blog post’s topic, managing holiday stress. Many people overextend themselves over the holidays because they think it’s what people want or the thing to do.
“Money continues to be the biggest cause of stress for Americans. Financial worries served as a significant source of stress for 64 percent of adults in 2014, ranking higher than three other major sources of stress: work (60 percent), family responsibilities (47 percent), and health concerns (46 percent).
Nearly three out of four adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and about one in four adults said they experienced extreme stress over money during the past month…”
A large part of the holidays is spending money. Money continues the biggest cause for stress for Americans. So I’ve decided to end the madness as much as possible (or my wife will allow). Here are five tips to help you manage holiday stress:
- Stop buying adults in your families gifts! Some call me a grinch, but I think buying gifts for your adult family is totally unnecessary (and silly). If you want to get them something, give something meaningful and thoughtful that won’t kill your budget and leave you in debt. Gifts should be saved for the kids only. Can you honestly say that you’ve kept or use most of the gifts you’ve gotten over the years?
- Instead, use your resources and energy towards charitable causes. A homeless person that gets a care package from you is way more thankful than an adult cousin you give a sweater to. Service and giving is proven to contribute towards your happiness.
- Set a budget on how much you can afford to use towards: hosting parties, gifts, tips, etc.. And stick to it! For those of you fortunate enough to have disposable income, write down what you can spend without affecting your life (rent, mortgage, utility bills, etc.).
- Prioritize gift giving to those in your life that help you achieve your financial goals. Give back to great repeat customers, support staff at work, your kids’ teachers, babysitters/dogsitters, etc..
- Spend time with people you want to. There are plenty of social events during the holiday season. If you are in the position to choose which parties to go to, prioritize the events to spending time with people who love you, don’t judge you, and make you feel good. Life is too short too hard to spend time with negative people. Also, bring cash you can afford to spend to the bars without your credit cards. I know that I’ve racked up some crazy bills when I’m buzzed.
I hope you have a stress free and enjoyable Christmas holiday. How do you manage holiday stress? Leave your comments below.