Tips To Having a Stress Free Festive Season
The Festive Season is a spectacular time to appreciate what really matters in life – your friends, family and spending quality time together. Although this sounds quite dreamy, it can be a complex and tricky time. So allow us to give our top tips to ensure this Festive period is the best yet!
BEGIN WITH GRATITUDE
What better way to beat stress during the Festive Season than getting back to what’s really important. It’s not just about the array of foods and gifts and who can eat the most. Before you open your gifts, tearing the wrapping and discarding the tags, spend some time and at least a moment to reflect on all of your blessings – including the blessing of having loved ones. Someone once said – what if we woke up today, only with the stuff we were thankful for yesterday – how much would we have? Anyway, why not write a list of things that you are grateful for! Look at all of the good you have in your life. We have so much to be grateful for!
LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS
Now that we have our gratitude levels full – abandon all unrealistic expectations and pursuit of perfection this holiday season. High expectations and striving for perfection are recipes for disappointment, disillusionment and cause unnecessary stress. Don’t fret over the perfect gifts that cost a fortune and leave you in debt; don’t stress over the perfect table settings, meals, décor or activity list. Focussing on these aspects will result in disappointment when things don’t go “as planned” during the holidays. Be flexible with your plans and remain open to change and ALWAYS have a sense of humour about things that don’t work out the way you imagined.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Part of letting go of expectations is simplifying your Festive Season plans. Don’t over-schedule and commit to too many activities. Decide what is the most important to you and your loved ones, and stick to it; only commit to what is realistically possible. Remember to give yourself and your family time to rest and recover so that 2017 is the best year yet!
WHEN ENTERTAINING – AXE PERFECTION
Be spontaneous – don’t miss out on celebrations with friends and family because you want everything to be perfect. The “perfect meal”, a “sparkling clean house” and “elaborate decorations” aren’t as important as making memories that last a lifetime! Take some handy advice from the film Frozen and LET IT GO! Wave goodbye to perfection and have those get-togethers, share a meal or simply some chit-chat over cups of coffee and biscuits.
ESTABLISH A BUDGET
The Festive Season can become a very expensive time for most families. From grocery shopping for all the lovely food we enjoy over this time, to gifts for our close family, not to mention gifting where large families are involved. Start budgeting early – think of homemade gifts, and rather opt for sentimental tokens than expensive, budget blowing, extravagant gifts. There is a popular joke that circulates about “how many months are there in January” after the excessive Festive Season spending. Avoid the stress and buyers’ remorse and stick to a budget this December.
AVOID SHOPPING ON NUMBER 99
Avoid last minute shopping sprees; these are one of the biggest culprits to a stressful Festive Season. Don’t blow your budget; set some money aside for those special gifts you know your kids and husband/wife or family would like. Discuss gift giving with your extended family; possibly opt for a “Secret Santa” and draw names out of a hat; then each person only has to buy for only that one person. Also set a cap on the amount the present is allowed to be; example R100 or under. Setting boundaries around shopping for gifts will help you stick to your holiday budget and ensure you have less stress in the New Year.
GIVE BACK THIS FESTIVE SEASON
There is no greater joy than helping those in need; especially during such a special time of year. Make it a family project; make food parcels for the poor, serve in a soup kitchen, hand out food and blankets to the homeless or volunteer at an animal shelter. This reminds us of our many blessings and provides a sense of accomplishment. As the saying goes “Charity begins at home but it shouldn’t stop there”.