This the season for giving thanks and celebrating with friends and family, but Thanksgiving and Christmas can also bring out the stress monster in us — You know, stressed out part of us that’s so overwhelmed by to-do lists, visitors from out of town, panicked shopping, endless cooking, and tireless cleaning, that we have trouble being in the moment and enjoying all the festivities this season has to offer.
We don’t want you to miss out on the joy in these moments, so we’ve put together a list of essential tips for getting into gear for the holidays. Whether you’re a schedule-every-moment planner, or a last-minute improviser, these will help you get the most joy out of your holiday:
- Make a list. It sounds obvious, but we often wait until we’re already overwhelmed before making a list of what we need to and get for the holidays. At that point, we’re forgetful and might miss things, and writing it out can seem overwhelming. Instead, write out your list early, and give yourself permission to adjust it and re-categorize it as the plan changes.
- Know what’s important. Go through your list and divide the items into categories, like “Urgent,” “Semi-Urgent,” and “Non-Urgent.” This will help you figure out what’s most timely or important, and what you can leave for later or let drop if you get overwhelmed. If you’re having trouble deciding if something is urgent, think back to last year’s holiday. Would it have made a big difference if there was no turkey? Probably. Would it have made a big difference if you didn’t have mashed AND baked potatoes? Probably not.
- Take breaks. Taking breaks for relaxation and movement is a great way to keep the stress monster at bay. One of the big advantages to having a Springfree Trampoline in your backyard is having access to a fun, fast, low-stress workout year-round. Did you know Springfree Trampolines are safe to use in winter, and that 10 minutes on the trampoline gives you as much of a workout as 30 minutes jogging? It’s true! So bundle up and bounce!
- Delegate. Our families don’t want us taking on so much stress that we don’t get to enjoy our time with them. If your to-do list is overwhelming, look for tasks you can delegate to your spouse—or even your kids! Shopping, decorating, baking, and cleaning the house can be a group effort. Let everyone pitch in!
- Set a budget. Not knowing how much money you’re spending can add stress around the holidays. It helps to work out a rough budget ahead of time, and give yourself a little wiggle room in case the turkey costs more than you expected, or the cranberry sauce comes in under budget.
- Shop early and look for sales. The earlier you start shopping, especially with gifts and non-perishable food, the more freedom you have to wait for the right price. Come up with gift and shopping lists early and keep an eye on your mailbox for sales, coupons, and special offers.
- Do one thing every day. Tasks can feel overwhelming if you let them stack up or try to rush through them. Instead, stick to a steady pace of taking care of one to-do list item per day and you’ll keep your stress to a minimum.
- Invite your guests to help. Stressed out because you’re hosting a party with a lot of guests? Use your invite list to your advantage. Ask your guests to pitch in by bringing something to contribute: decorations, appetizers, salads, desserts, games/activities, etc. It’ll take some of the stress off your plate.
- Practice gratitude. Before you go to bed at night, or when you first wake up in the morning, jot down three things that you’re grateful for, or three things that you’re looking forward to. It’ll teach your brain to appreciate what’s going on around you and see opportunities instead of challenges. You can even do it as a group activity with your family.
- Come up with a playlist. Got a favorite holiday song or album? Put together a playlist of your favorite pump-up jams to pick you up when you’re feeling tired, or just to make the vacuuming go by faster. Need to let off some steam? Go out back and shake off your anxiety on your Springfree Trampoline as “Jingle Bell Rock” lifts your spirits.
- Let it go. If things don’t come together perfectly, don’t stress out. At the end of the day, what your family wants most is time with you to reflect and celebrate. If some piece of your holiday prep goes awry or causes you more stress than it’s worth, don’t be afraid to let it go. You all have each other and that’s really what the holidays are about anyway.