The Christmas season is regarded as the “most wonderful time of the year.” However, it is also the most stressful time for many who easily get overwhelmed with all the expectations and expenses that this season brings.
According to a 2015 Healthline survey, 44% of the people say that they are “somewhat stressed” during the holidays, with more than 18% reporting that they are “very stressed”. Almost half or 47% of the respondents cited finances as the main culprit for their holiday woes. Other reasons cited include eating right and staying fit, making the right gift choices, and being over-scheduled
While getting stress seems to be inevitable this season, there are still ways to get rid of it and have a wonderful celebration.
Limit your spending
Setting expectations is one of a good way to avoid overspending. According to MoneyTips.com, a website dedicated to help individuals manage their finances, setting expectations means being realistic about what a certain person can afford to spend.
“Think about how to use your money wisely in a way that you can have the greatest return,” MoneyTips.com said. “You’ve heard it before: It’s the thought that counts.”
It is also important to get organized by listing the names of the recipients and the amount of money you can afford to spend on each person. MoneyTips.com noted that this should be plan based on the amount of money you have saved or have on-hand, and not by charging everything to your credit card that you might not be able to pay when the time is due.
MoneyTips.com also suggests to resist the urge of spending and avoid giving all out. “We all just want everyone to be happy during the holiday season. In order to make that happen, we sometimes think that giving the ultimate gift is what will do it. It won’t. Come down from that ledge, and it is a ledge, because if you fall into the mindset of going all out, you will find yourself in a large hole when your bills are due,” MoneyTips.com explained.
Moreover, it is also important to be creative when it comes to choosing the “best” gifts to friends and loved ones. There are several alternatives that might help you save a lot of money, including giving of personalized Christmas cards, handcrafted bracelets, and homemade fancy cupcakes. Some people also appreciate it more if you would simply spend quality time with them.
“Remember, this is the season of giving — not the season of spending, as most merchants would have you believe. Set your expectations and your budget, get creative, don’t overdo it, and be merry,” MoneyTips.com said.
With all the tempting feasts served during family get-togethers and other holiday events, worries about gaining weight is another major source of stress for many.
There are many ways to help avoid overeating this holiday season. One of this — which is probably one of the most important tip — is curbing hunger before going to any occasion. Jamie Logie, a personal trainer and health coach, said that going into a party with an empty stomach is “setting yourself up for disaster.” He explained that when we are hungry, we tend to crave for sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain.
“Eating a quality meal that includes some healthy fats and protein prior to an event will help keep you fuller, longer and less likely to jump on the first plate of crab cakes you see,” Mr. Logie said.
Drinking water is also a big help to avoid overeating. As per Mr. Logie, there are times that hunger signals are actually mistaken for dehydration, and drinking water throughout the day will help to alleviate this potential signal cross. In addition to this, he said that having a glass or two of water before hitting the snack table will also help avoid eating excessive sweets.
Since the feeling of fullness can take around 20 minutes before the brain recognizes the signals, eating slowly is a must, Mr. Logie said.
“Eating too quickly overrides these signals causing you to eat more than your body would naturally prefer. We tend to live in a rushed world and we don’t give those satiation signals a chance to work so slowing down your eating will help you avoid eating more than you actually need. The best way to do this is keep an eye on the clock and focus on chewing your food quite thoroughly,” he added.
Have some fun
This season of goodwill, nothing is more important than to be happy. This can be attained by spending time with family and friends, and finding a way to help someone.
“Invite family or friends over for dinner or a drink. Invite colleagues or a friend from church. Being around people is an effective way to be happy during the holidays,” Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill, a mental health care institution, said on its Web site.
Giving is also an effective way to be merry this season, the institution noted. “Find a way to help someone. It can be that lonely old lady who comes to your church or the neighbor who has no one around to help him this holiday season. You could help out by simple acts of kindness like help set up a Christmas tree or taking a batch of homemade cookies. Try to do some research about what kind of help is needed in your community this holiday season and try to help,” it advised. — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino