Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

The holiday season should be festive and happy. The world almost grinds to a complete halt as people gather to spend quality time with the ones dearest to them. But the holiday season can also be stressful for many. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your holiday is less stressful.

These top tips will help you navigate the holiday season without fear of burnout:

  • Spend wisely
    Shopping for gifts at the last minute and attending social events are two hallmarks of the holiday season. But this can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. Shopping or socialising without failure to set a budget could eventually leave you with no money for school fees, transport or car insurance premiums in January. Find low-cost, safe ways to have fun this holiday. Top tip: organise an outdoor braai instead of going to an expensive restaurant and set a budget for gifts - and stick to it.
  • Everything in moderation
    It may be tempting to eat like you're at a buffet dinner and drink like it's happy hour, but alcohol and a bad diet can contribute to stress and anxiety. Alcohol may be a problem if you're drinking to cope with anxiety. A diet packed with red meat, refined grains and sugar is associated with an increased risk of depression. On the other hand, people who think of alcohol as a pick-me-up will be surprised to hear that it's considered a depressant. There's nothing wrong with enjoying a slice of cake or a glass of wine with your dinner: just don't overdo it.
  • Avoid triggers
    In most cases, people are stressed by the same things every year. Whether the recurring problem is related to your diet, finances or relationships, you can plan ahead to avoid dealing with the same headache you did on your last holiday. For instance, if your living standards leave you with no money to spend in December, focus on cutting back on a few monthly costs. This could be as simple as requesting an online insurance quote and switching to insurance that suits your budget. Alternatively, if shopping in December puts you in the red every year, why not try making your own gifts, or avoid last-minute purchases by planning wisely (or shopping online).
  • Volunteer
    Putting a smile on someone else's face is one of the easiest ways to lift your mood during the festive period. The end of the year is a time of giving, so why not give the best gift there is — time. You won't have a hard time finding a noble cause to join: there are plenty of charities that need help. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to connect with people while making a positive contribution. If you're looking for activities to keep the kids busy this holiday, why not dedicate a day to giving back?

There's no reason that you can't have a happier and stress-free holiday season. These tips, as well as a bit of planning can save you a lot of hassles and set the stage for you to do the one thing that your holiday should be about: unwinding without a care in the world.

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