Handling Holiday Stress: Ten Tips For Singles
Here we go again. Presents to buy, work to finish up, cards to
write, plans to make, events and parties to attend: and all
those things we "must do" because we've always done them. Does
this sound familiar? Do you go to sleep at night with the
feeling that you are hopelessly behind schedule, yet have made
good use (overuse) of your time? Do you experience even a small
measure of dread as you approach this season, and a large
measure of relief when it's all over? Most importantly, are you
savoring any of the lovely sights, sounds, smells and feelings
that are unique to this time of year; or are you just too tired
and rushed to even notice? If this describes you, you are
probably suffering from holiday stress. Compounding this is the
widely held belief that this is just the way it has to be, and
that your task is to just get through it.
The following tips are designed to give you a new perspective on
this all too common problem. Read on, and see if you can make
some small behavior changes/additions that could result in a lot
less stress and a lot more enjoyment in the weeks ahead.
1.If you have a fairly sizeable family/extended family to shop
for, your level of monetary, time and emotional stress can be
very high. Therefore, consider approaching your family about
your present tradition of gift exchanging. Growing in popularity
is the system of drawing one name (of one family member) to buy
a nice gift for. Everyone in the family receives one gift that
another member had the time (and budget) to choose well. If your
family is resistant, you could opt for two gifts per person, or
some other compromise.
2.Try a new tradition of having a shopping day with friends (or
family). Draw up your list, head for a nice mall or town center
with great little shops (even better) and make it a day of
shopping, lunch and lattes. You could finish with a late
3.Consider on-line shopping. This is a great way to save time
and get free gift-wrapping without the lines and headaches. It
also allows more time for you to choose just the right gift for
each person. You can have them mailed to you or sent to whatever
address they will eventually be going to.
4.If you send cards, consider after Christmas cards or New
Year's cards. Why rush to send them before Christmas? The folks
who receive them will have more time to focus on your news after
Christmas, and may even find it more fun to receive something in
the mail during the quiet "let down" period that follows each
5.Try to plan a few extra days off right before or during the
December-January holidays. Even one extra day could be useful to
pack, get an early start on travel, finish up last minute chores
or errands, or catch up on sleep and R&R. We often mistakenly
assume we will feel more rushed and behind if we take down time-
the reverse is actually what occurs.
6.Do an inventory of your must-do. After you make your list, go
through each one and ask yourself is this activity really gives
you pleasure or serves your needs or the needs of a loved one.
Cross off any that don't answer yes to the above question. Make
sure you are not doing things out of rote because that's the way
it has always been. If you have one or two you are unsure of,
put them at the end of your list of priorities. This way, you
can get to them if you have time after you have done the things
you know will be of value to you.
7.Consider having a cleaning service come in at least once
during the next month. Imagine the extra time (and lowered
stress) you would have if someone else cleaned your bathroom and
kitchen, washed your floors, dusted your furniture, etc. What a
nice gift to give yourself!
8.Arrange to have a massage, facial, manicure or other spa
treatment. These are wonderful stress relievers. They are
especially nice late in the day at the end of a hectic few days.
Afterwards, you can go out for a quiet meal or go home and get
some things done and then get a restful night's sleep.
9.Make sure you are doing some kind of regular exercise. This
should be part of your life 52 weeks of the year. However,
during high stress periods, it is more important. It is a fact
that exercise increases energy and positive self-esteem and
decreases depression. It is also a way to improve sleep and keep
your weight in check.
10.Try to get some extra sleep. You will probably have to begin
decompressing a little sooner than usual on those nights. Don't
eat dinner too late, or eat anything too heavy. Avoid alcohol
those nights. Get ready for bed and lie down with a good book or
in front of a favorite show. If you exercised earlier, this will
help you to be more relaxed and ready to sleep. Even one hour
three times a week will make a difference in your mood and
Read these suggestions over carefully and consider which ones
might be useful to you. After you have begun to implement them;
take a deep breath, sit back, and drink in some of the lovely
sights, sounds and smells of this cherished season.