It’s the beginning of the holiday season and with the holidays comes stress. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the holiday hoopla, setting high expectations in an effort to make things perfect for our family and friends. If you’re one of those people who feel the pressure of the holidays, here are 7 tips to help feel balanced, happy and stress free:

1. Remember what the holidays are really about — spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones. It’s about giving to others. Watch your expectations; make sure they are realistic. We all strive for perfection during the holidays and we tend to forget what the holidays are really about. The holidays are about being with your loved ones and everything else comes second.

2. Take care of you during the hectic holiday season, we forget about ourselves. We spend so much time worrying about setting a perfect table; buying and cooking the food; decorating the house; buying the presents; etc., we forget to take some time out and spend some quiet time alone. Yes, of course it’s the season of giving to others, but make sure to put yourself on your priority list. The more time you put aside for you, the healthier and happier you will feel this holiday season.

3. Start early — before the holiday season is in full swing, start making your to-do lists. Start your holiday shopping early, this way you’re not scrambling for presents. Buy wrapping paper, holiday’s cards, etc., as soon as possible. Wrap your gifts as you buy them. Having a lot done ahead of time is a huge stress relief and then you will enjoy going out for any last minute things knowing that the majority of the shopping is complete.

5. Ask for help — there is no reason why you have to do everything on your own.  Ask each person who is coming to prepare a dish or a dessert. Try and make your holidays, not about the cooking but more about the socializing. If everyone brings a dish this will make the shopping and cooking much easier. And most important, don’t feel guilty about asking.

6. Be upfront financially — tell family and friends what you can and can’t afford this year. If you know this will be a tough financial holiday season, then recommend other options such as: buying for the kids only, the charity option (everyone gives to a charity — whatever they can afford) instead of a gift, play a game like Yankee Swap where everyone buys one gift and set an affordable value for the gift.

7. Listen to your body — watch the signs. If you notice any of the following signs then it is time to make some changes:
• Change in sleeping habits

• Change in eating habits

• Feeling moody, irritable, and unhappy

• Exhaustion and fatigue

• Physical signs such as colds, the flu, headaches, feeling run down  

These symptoms are all warning signs of too much anxiety and stress in our life. This is a sign to slow down and take care of yourself.

Happy Holidays!

Sean Kavanagh 905.220.9198
Leo Manchisi 905.334.9650