During the holidays, most of us enjoy time away from work, good food, family gatherings and celebration. But we sometimes overlook a rather important detail - the strain it can put on our health.
This time of year breeds stressful situations and launches the nasty cold and flu season. You might have to take time off before or after you travel just to regain your balance.
And by the time you get back to the office, you could be swamped and more stressed than before.
A feast takes preparation and thought. How many guests are you expecting? What will be on the menu? Are your recipes in order? How will you ensure that all your dishes are cooked to perfection on time? When will you shop, and where are the best deals?
Take a deep breath. Prioritize and start planning the menu a week before the special occasion. This will give you time to make your grocery list.
Shop for nonperishable items a few days ahead of time, and go at a time when markets aren't busy - early in the morning or late at night.
If oven space is an issue, precook everything you can reheat with ease the night before. This goes for all pies and certain casseroles. Pull in a toaster oven for cooking side dishes if need be.
Try to make a bit more food than necessary for the mouths you expect to feed. This will come in handy when your relatives bring surprise guests. And if there is an abundance of food, you can always send people home with scrumptious leftovers.
Shopping for gifts can be unnerving. Making sure everyone on your list has a special present is no easy feat. In 2006, people waited in line all night and called stores every day in hopes of getting a Nintendo Wii in time.
Camping outside of a store in the middle of winter isn't a good way to prevent anxiety and stay well.
We all have a person on our checklist who is impossible to buy for, the person who has everything and doesn't need anything.
You rack your brain trying to figure out what to get and come up empty-handed. Don't stress, get creative; make a gift basket or give a gift card.
Money is another huge stressor. Eliminate the strain by getting your budget in line: How much do you want to spend? How much should you spend? Everyone likes a nice gift, but not all great ones have to be expensive. Time and thought can be the key components.
Family members get very sensitive about where you choose to spend your time for holidays. Hurt feelings, guilt, demands and expectations can easily be stirred by those closest to you.
Not only do you have to squeeze in time with your family, but there might be in-laws to see or work parties to attend. Stretching yourself too thin will only give you a headache.
Do yourself a favor and spend the holidays the way you want to. You can't please everyone.
The holidays should mean spending quality time with the people you love, not feeling overwhelmed. By the same token, don't overreact if someone can't make it to your shindig.
Learning to handle stress is a vital survival skill for your sanity and physical health not only during the holiday madness but throughout the year as well. Here are the some tips to help you cope:
You can get through this season unscathed. Just don't pressure yourself to make everything perfect. Some of the best times in life are those that don't end up exactly as planned.
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