Even though the holidays are filled with fun parties, family and celebration, it's not always the most relaxing time of the year. Between Christmas shopping and hosting dinner, it leaves little time to enjoy and decompress as the year comes to a close. My list of holiday to-do(s) are quite comprehensive and includes: sending out cards, baking for the holidays, shopping for others (although I do try to sneak in a little something for myself), decorating and planning for dinner parties. With each year that passes, I'm starting to master the art of getting through the holidays without feeling like I need a holiday from the holiday. Here are a few useful tips to try:
1. Spend some time planning: If you're a natural organized planner, this goes without saying and can reduce stress when all the last minute tasks are taken care of early.
2. Take a few vacation days during the month of December: I find that the few days you have off during the holiday season gives you time to really enjoy the holidays instead of letting it pass by. It also give you extra time to take care of last minute details so you won't have to stress later on.
3. Try themed gift exchanges: It can be stressful to shop for others and creating a theme can help narrow down the perfect gift for someone. You can either do this as a group or create individual themes. For example, you can do a "get fit" theme for the group and your gift ideas can range from workout apparel all the way to an iwatch if you really feel like spoiling someone. You can also do a "giving to others" theme where each person donates to a charitable organization in the name of who they're giving the gift to. (We also suggest: our “can’t go wrong” gift guide!)
4. Stick to the plan and don't go overboard: I know this best when I start to get new ideas as I go. I start adding things on and pretty soon, I have more to do on my list than before.
5. Be sure to reward yourself: This is my favourite part. Whether it's going to the spa or going for a run, be sure to be nice to yourself. It is the holidays after all.
Amy Yew is a registered clinical counselor and relationship therapist. She is also the author of a fashion and lifestyle blog Style Du Jour. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org.