The key to managing stress during the holidays is managing your own expectations! You need to manage your expectations with your time, with your budget, with your family and your added activities in your schedule.
“A common source of stress is unrealistic expectations,” according to Dr. David Posen in a Canadian Journal of Continuing Medical Education article.
You can often get stressed because of how you want a situation to turn out instead of accepting what is happening.
Here's an example. If you're having a holiday party your heart is set on a specific type of appetizer and the store is out of that appetizer, don't have a melt down. Buy something different. It won’t ruin your entire meal.
How you manage your expectations will dictate your level of stress.
Here are six great ideas on how to manage your expectations around common holiday situations.
1) Set budget limits for your holiday shopping.
Setting a limit keeps you from feeling financially stressed during the holidays. It will also keep you from worrying all during the month of January!
Figure out what you can afford to spend on gifts or whatever you do for the holidays. Then create your list of people that you want to share with during the holidays.
Finally, negotiate your list with your budget. Remember it is the thought that counts, so come up with creative gifts that fit your budget. People always appreciate thoughtful gifts and activities.
This is a great idea to share with your kids too. Sit down with your kids and create a list for their friends so they can learn the value of money as well.
2) Don't forget to create a grocery shopping list too!
Food can be expensive when you're creating your shopping list for the holidays. If you are having a party or dinner create a budget for food and alcohol.
If you are having a big gathering consider asking people to bring sides, wine or dessert to off-set the cost of the dinner. People love to showcase their special recipes and get compliments from others.