The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year. But for many of us it’s an extremely stressful time when our already busy schedules seem stretched to the brink.
Whether you’re running around shopping, trying to make time for visiting friends and family or attempting to counterbalance your work responsibilities with your familial responsibilities, managing your time can be a challenge. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) 2015 Stress in America report, there are a number of trends that can easily lead to increased anxiety during the holidays.
- Thirteen percent of adults have been diagnosed with anxiety without the added stress of the holidays.
- Family duties are now the third most common source of stress. During the holidays we have more family responsibilities compared to other times in the year.
- Nearly 40 percent of adults admit to overeating and unhealthy eating in response to stress.
The holidays are supposed to be about spending quality time with family and friends – activities that are far from stress inducing. Unfortunately, the pressure leading up to all the merriment can trigger stress.There are two key things you can focus on to make everything else easier and more enjoyable this holiday season: practicing good time management and leveraging technology.
Sanity Saving Time Management Tips for the Holidays
Trying to square away enough time for all the extra social obligations, buying gifts and decorating the house can seem like a holiday miracle. Fitting everything in often comes down to how you manage your time.
Start time blocking. If you haven’t tried time blocking now is a great opportunity to test it out. By making appointments with yourself for small chunks of time over the course of your day for the things you need to get done, you gain more control over your schedule and can prioritize your time more effectively. Need a little guidance and extra motivation? Sign up for the Time Blocking Mastery Course to get a step-by-step plan.
Be realistic when you’re scheduling. One of the quickest ways to stress yourself out is to set unrealistic goals. The health experts at the Cleveland Clinic state that asking yourself if you’re being realistic is the first step to reducing holiday stress. Be very conservative with your time and account for everything, even travel time between locations.
Time block time for yourself. Running on all cylinders means you have to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. During the holidays when you’re being pulled in all different directions the need for “me” time is at an all-time high. Each day block at least 15 minutes of time for yourself to de-stress and relax.
Learn to say no. When the invites are pouring in you may have to make a few tough decisions. Remember, the more you say “yes” the less time you have to relax and avoid holiday burnout.
Take advantage of the days after Christmas. The holiday cheer doesn’t suddenly disappear at the stroke of midnight on December 26th. If spending the actual holiday with family is a top priority, schedule get togethers with friends in the week between Christmas and New Years. You can still share the holiday spirit, but you’ll feel much more relaxed.
Don’t abandon your healthy habits. It’s easy to slip during the holiday season when we’re short on time and decadent food is in abundance. At first you may not feel the effects of unhealthy habits, but after about a week you’ll probably start to feel fatigued and rundown. Continue to get as much sleep as possible each night and eat a balanced diet.
Leveraging Technology for a Happier Holiday Season
Another way to save time and your sanity during the holidays is to leverage technology. The whole purpose of technology is to help you not work as hard while still accomplishing your objectives. That means if you want to get more done during the busy holiday season technology can be a solution.
Technological tools we’re leveraging this holiday season include:
- Chrome Honey Browser Extension – If you use Chrome or Firefox take advantage of the Honey It will search for money-saving discount codes before you buy online.
- Alfie – The Alfie device is like having a personal shopper. Ask the device a shopping related question and it will find the answer for you. Alfie will also find an item upon request.
- Giftster – Use the Giftster app to create wish lists you can share with others. You can also ask friends and family to share their list with you so it’s easier to find the perfect gift.
- The Christmas Gift List – This app makes tracking your holiday spending and gift giving much easier.
- FavorDelivery –Residents of certain cities can use Favor Delivery to get presents delivered to recipients on time for the holidays – even if you buy presents last minute. A runner will go pick up something for you and deliver it in as little as an hour.
- Instacart–Need something for your holiday dinner party but don’t have time to run to the grocery store? Then get Instacart to make the grocery run instead.
- Amazon Prime – Amazon’s membership service Prime has perks that come in handy during the holidays. Chief among them is the free, two-day shipping. Members in some areas can also get free grocery and restaurant delivery as well.
- Fitness Tracker With Breathing Monitor–Strap on a fitness tracker with a breathing monitor to instantly know when you need to take a break. Trackers like Spire will vibrate to let you know when your body is showing signs of stress and needs a breather. And on the plus side, a fitness tracker can help you see how many steps you’re getting from running all those holiday errands!
BENEFITS OF BUYING ONLINE
It’s understandable to want to see a purchase in person before you pull the trigger (especially if it’s an expensive item). But sometimes it makes more sense to buy online.
It saves a lot of hassle if you plan to travel. With today’s baggage fees, traveling with presents can be expensive if you’re flying. They also take up valuable trunk space when you’re taking a road trip. Save yourself the time, hassle and expense by ordering presents online and shipping them directly to your final destination.
Pros can handle the wrapping for you. Many online stores offer complimentary wrapping during the holidays and others offer the service for a small fee. If you aren’t the best wrapper or don’t have the time to get supplies and do it yourself, ordering online is a real stress reliever.
More convenient than fighting crowds. Last year Cyber Monday sales were up while in-store Black Friday sales were down. It’s not surprising that people who want to decrease their stress levels would rather shop from the comfort of home than spend time driving to a store and waiting in lines.
This year send stress packing and reclaim your happy holidays by leveraging technology and mastering time management!