Okay, it’s the end of the November and we’re all already very stressed.
I can see it in your faces. You’ve already spent $800 on Amazon on #CyberMonth, sorry, Monday. The tree is too sappy. Your mother-in-law won’t stop calling.
Everyone take a deep breath. We’re gonna get through this together.
Here are some ways you can have a healthier & less maddening holiday season this year.
1. Set Boundaries.
We’re all about boundaries here at TPIH HQ. Lately, we’ve felt like they’re the key to a happy life. They’ll definitely make this holiday season more enjoyable. Here are some examples of boundaries you can set this holiday season:
– “I can’t spend $30 on that Secret Santa gift. My budget is tight. Can we do $15?”
– “Sure, I’d love to do some holiday shopping, but I can only go for an hour and I can only spend $100.”
– “I know I’m gonna have a lot of emails go unanswered, but I’m on vacation for those 3 days, so I’m gonna set an Away Message and not look at my Inbox.”
– “You know, Mom, I’m trying to get some work done right now and really can’t talk on the phone for an hour about what Aunt Suzy said on Thanksgiving.”
Setting boundaries for yourself will ensure you get what you need during this stressful season. Sometimes you need to set money boundaries, or personal boundaries, or – my personal favorite – time boundaries. Which brings us to our favorite life-hack for good, healthy boundary-setting:
2. Schedule your life, as much you possibly can.
We schedule every waking breath in our Google Calendars. Our work as a band & our work-life balance have seriously suffered in times when we didn’t have a good scheduling practice. We’ve accidentally booked gigs during our family vacations. We’ve missed birthday parties. We’ve had to cancel shows. We’ve even forgot our wedding anniversary once! Being bad with time management isn’t only un-productive, but it messes with our personal lives & stresses us out.
Be intentional with your calendar this holiday season. If you think that office party will last FOREVER and you really don’t want to be there all night, put 5-9pm on the calendar and be intentional about leaving at 9! If you have to get some work done before you leave for vacation, schedule a day of undisturbed, super-focused work time. If you know your house will be a total disaster after your kids open their presents, schedule yourself an hour to clean. Then you don’t have to think about it. If you’re exhausted from the holidays, schedule yourself 2 days of DOING NOTHING. Schedule time with your spouse, alone-time with the kids, even put “Breakfast By Myself” on your Google Calendar.
And then respect that time. And don’t let anyone mess with it!
3. Do something fun, for goodness’ sake.
The holidays aren’t supposed to be all stress & sorrow, you know. They can actually somewhat joyful.
There are SO MANY fun things to do this time of year. Tree lightings, special concerts (Handel’s Messiah), plays (The Nutcracker, The Grinch), classic holiday movies on Netflix, driving around looking at the lights on peoples’ houses! It’s all a little cliche, but engaging in the holiday magic is actually really fun. And it only happens once a year, so why not embrace it!
TIP: Check Groupon for sleigh rides, plays and getaways. They always have good deals on fun activities this time of year.
4. Listen to music!
Okay, fine, we’re obviously partial to this one. We don’t feel like Googling, “Does music relieve stress?” but we’re pretty sure it’s scientifically proven. (You do the research and you let us know in the comments if we’re right).
In our own lives, music has been super helpful for relaxation. It’s also a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Throw on the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and you’re immediately feeling all the warm December fuzzies. Listen to this Winter Playlist we made on Spotify while you decorate your tree. Our new album, Every Seed Must Die, will really calm you down when you’re on those long drives from Grandma’s.
5. Buy less crap.
Sure, we just made a pretty shameless plug for you to go buy our music. (We’ve gotta eat, you know?) But, in all honesty, we try to keep our life as non-consumeristic as humanely possible. We find it keeps the stress at bay.
We did do a little Black Friday shopping, not gonna lie. In our defense, our mattress was 12 years old, so 20% off that “mattress in a box” from Amazon was a bit of a necessity.
Every year, though, we try to keep our gift-buying to a minimum. We’ll try to get one great gift for each important person in our life, and we try to set a reasonable budget for each gift. Honestly, Grandma’s gonna love that $25 Gift Card to Appleby’s and we all know it. A night out at her favorite spot, and the bill will be mostly covered! No reason to go crazy on jewelry for every single person you love.
Books are always great. They’re definitely better than giving your niece a loud, plastic toy that will wake up your sister at 3am and haunt everyones’ nightmares.
TIP: Instead of stuff, buy EXPERIENCES! (Again, Groupon is a great place to get ideas).
Concert tickets for your parents say, “Thanks for everything you do for me. Let’s spend some really great high-quality time together.”
A museum pass for the kiddos in your life,
A movie pass for your friend,
A trip with your spouse, promising them some uninterrupted time, will mean the world to both of you.
The stress will be over before you know it & soon it’ll be February and we’ll be trapped in 3 feet of snow, wishing we could go back to December. Try to do as well as you can to enjoy this part of your year. Reflect on all the good the year brought you, grieve any losses you experienced, and get ready to look ahead to a fresh beginning. Set good boundaries for yourself, do things that make you happy & let your heart be light this holiday season.
Tell us in the comments below how you plan to beat the holiday madness this year!