The holidays are right around the corner, and the pressure that comes with them can be enough for anyone to want to lock the doors and shutter the blinds until the new year. A recent survey by Healthline shows that 65% of Generation X and 61% of millennials feel some sort of increase in stress around the holidays.
Don’t panic — the holidays should be something you enjoy! Give yourself enough time and follow some of these tips and you’ll be able to relax with your family and friends in no time.
Grab a notebook and start jotting down all of your thoughts and expectations for the next month. Write down every event you anticipate attending or hosting, the important traditions you’d like to uphold, potential travel plans, what foods you’d like to make, and what gifts you’d like to give.
Once you have everything written down, take a moment and then revisit your pages with a more critical eye. Consider what is essential to your idea of the holiday season, how much time you have available, daily commitments, and the fact that you also need to sleep. See what you can comfortably cut down on, and then start scheduling out the rest. Some people swear by using a separate holiday-only planner, or using a special font or color on your online calendar. Once you can see everything you want to do planned out in front of you, handling everything becomes much easier.
After eliminating unnecessary or unrealistic events, tasks, and travel plans during your brainstorming session, creating a to-do list is your next step. You may opt to make a few different to-do lists, one for events, one for shopping and gifts, and a miscellaneous catch-all. What’s coming first? What do you need extra time to do? Hiring a personal assistant to take care of your to-do list can take a lot off of your plate and be extremely helpful during the holiday season.
[Related: How Stress Affects Your Health]
Your to-do list will make shopping for groceries, decorations, supplies, and gifts a much more organized experience. think about purchasing the majority of the things you need online to avoid the chaos of holiday crowds and impossible parking situations. If you choose to go the online shopping route, double-check the estimated arrival date so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
If you have the option to get things gift-wrapped for you, consider taking advantage of it to save you time and stress. Not a big online shopper, and want to avoid the crowds and put your money where your mouth is? Support local, small businesses for unique gifts and ethical spending. Complete your holiday shopping as soon as possible to beat the crowds and prevent last-minute stress. Or better yet, with the help of a personal assistant, they can check everything off your shopping list for you.
Clean & Decorate
Revisit your brainstorming work, holiday calendar, and to-do lists and highlight everything that mentions cleaning and decorating. If you’re able to, reserve a weekend or a few weekday afternoons to tackle the house. A 2011 study conducted by Princeton University concluded that a cluttered environment can make it more difficult to focus on a specific task. When your environment is cleaner, organizing your thoughts becomes easier and you’ll feel more relaxed.
Make space for new things and designate where presents, decorations, and areas for entertaining will be. Don’t forget to empty out your refrigerator to make room for all of the delicious foods that will inevitably come with holiday gatherings.
Consider making your bedroom a calm, holiday-free sanctuary. Keep it gift and prep-free if doing so makes you feel calmer. You’re going to want a place to relax and have a clear mind during the festivities.
When it comes to cooking, if you can make anything ahead of time and freeze it properly, never feel bad about doing so. Look up and gather all of your recipes for the next few weeks and try to minimize the amount of trips you take to the grocery store. You can even opt to have your groceries delivered to your door through apps such as Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and other store-specific programs. You could also hire a personal assistant to take care of your holiday grocery list and meal prep to save you even more time.
Make self-care and personal time a priority during these hectic days. Don’t overbook yourself, keep some evenings or mornings free, and try to eat healthy, hydrate, and take time to just breathe. Always remember — it’s okay to ask for help.
Enjoy Friends and Family
Through all of the chaos, gift-wrapping, cleaning, and traveling, don’t forget that the holidays are about spending quality time with friends and family, and being thankful for the love and support that surrounds you.
Pepper’s Personal Assistants is ready to help you tackle the holidays, whether it be by assisting with household management, planning trips, running errands, or getting your house ready for guests. Contact us today for a consultation!