We all love the holiday season, but wonder how can we increase the joy and decrease the stress that comes hand in hand with it? Each year, we hope to pull off the perfect holiday with less spending, less craziness, less running around, and less pressure. The main question is how do you enjoy more of the holiday while doing less? How do you keep the holidays happy even if you have to spend it away from some of your loved ones?
If you’re aiming to simplify the holidays, downsize the post-holiday bills, and enjoy a more relaxing and meaningful time during this season, we have an early holiday gift for you.
Here are 10 tips from US Family Health Plan – a TRICARE Prime health program on how to de-stress your holiday season. For us, less stress translates to better health.
- Shave back the to-do list. Sometimes less is actually more. Aim to knock down the list of chores to the rock-bottom necessity.
- Cut the gift list to rock bottom. Eliminate gift exchanges that have lost their meaning. Focus on young people and those in need. Draw names and do a gift exchange where everyone gets something and maintain the spirit of giving and joy.
- Cut down on paper waste. In the age of recycling, cut back on paper, boxes and unnecessary cards. Give electronic cards or messages where possible and eliminate too much wrapping paper and packaging. It all just ends up in the re-cycle..
- Save on catering. Believe it or not, your local super market is now a haven for home cooked food and bakery items that can be purchased already prepared. Cut down your time spent in the kitchen by taking using a mix of take out and home cooked. No one will ever know the difference!
- Email or Call instead of sending cards. Keep your greeting list intact, but streamline your postage and holiday card costs. Use email as a way to send out creative or even personalized holiday greeting. Call loved ones or people that you haven’t spoken to in some time to surprise them. This will save you considerable costs, and make the holidays more meaningful through the power of connecting more authentically. Surprise loved ones who are away during the holidays with a special family video message and use facetime to connect on the holidays.
- Scale back décor. In recent years, holiday decorating seems to have taken on a life of its own – not to mention the need “Keep up your decorations with the Jones”. Break out of the pack and simply your holiday with simpler, and more meaningful decorations. Just decorate the door. Substitute a table top tree for an over the top Tannenbaum. Bring a festive feel to the house, but avoid the need to completely redecorate. Take time to just enjoy being at home for a while.
- Cut the Clean-a-thon. Focus on keeping the kitchen and bathrooms clean. Public areas and guest rooms can be cleaned when the time arrives. Save unnecessary tasks like painting or carpet cleaning or drapery cleaning until the holidays are over along with the traffic wear and tear. January is full of great cleaning deals to save that stress for later.
- Scale back on Dishwashing Drama. Handwashing fine china or polishing silver are no-body’s favorite holiday activities. So give yourself a holiday break and either use your everyday dishes or even paper if that makes your life less stressful. Forget the need to impress and focus on fun.
- Finger food, not feast. Today, everyone is more health conscious. Think about smaller plates with healthier foods, and watch your soaring grocery bill go down. No need to over-eat. Why bother with digestive angst, when you could rather be enjoying quality time with friends and family minus the heartburn.
- Stay Home! Cuddling close to the hearth, with loved ones or even just a good book is a wonderful way to spend time. In today’s hustle bustle world, you will have to confront the masses soon enough. Cherish the one time of year where you can actually claim some peace and down time.
If you will be separated from loved ones during this special time of year, use new technology, like Skype, and FaceTime share valuable moments with loved ones. It truly makes a difference.
US Family Health Plan wishes each of you a stress free, healthier holiday filled with family, friends and fun!