Here's how to keep things simple during the holidays

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

As the holiday season approaches, our to-do lists might be filling up with tasks such as sending out cards, decorating, buying gifts, responding to party invites, planning get-togethers, baking, and cooking ... the list goes on. It can be overwhelming and stressful to get everything done and fit it all in.

Sometimes, it can be so overwhelming that we are unable to enjoy the people and experiences around us. We forget what the holidays mean to us. Are we doing things because we have to, or because it is valuable and we want to?

If you're feeling worried about being overwhelmed by the holidays, here are three tips to keep things simple:

Tip #1: Make a list of five things that are important to you or your family.

What are some traditions, activities or things that provide meaning to your life over the holidays? Make these items on your list a priority.

On the flip side, what do you find overwhelming or unpleasant about the holidays? Let these things go or modify them if they must be done. For my family, decorating our tree is an important thing we enjoy doing together. This is high on our list. All the other decorations were too time-consuming to not only put up, but also to put away. So, we decided to let them go. What truly brings meaning to you and your family over the holidays?

Tip #2: Make a budget.

The holidays can be an expensive time of year. Gifts, food, transportation, activities ... it can all add up. Make a budget of what you can realistically afford to give and spend over the holidays. Find creative ways to reduce costs so you can spend your money on the important things. Speak with your friends and family about implementing gift exchanges or consider something homemade. Remember, gift giving is not a requirement of the holidays.

Tip #3: Give yourself permission to say "no."

After the holidays are over, have you ever felt that you need a holiday from your holiday? I know I have. One thing that has been helpful for me is trying to maintain a schedule and routine. I choose a few events to attend and then I remind myself that it is OK to say no to others. This can be hard, but it is necessary. It allows me to carve out some much-needed time to relax and reflect.

The holidays mean different things to different people. Think about what this time of year truly means to you and remind yourself of that as the season approaches. Most importantly, free yourself of judgment, pressure or how you think things should be and allow yourself to do what you find meaningful.


This column was written by BSW intern Lauren Hird and first appeared in the New Hamburg Independent:

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