Six tips to help control your holiday stress

The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of year, but with some planning, you can feel calm and in control.

Holidays can be fun and getting together with family and friends might be something you look forward to every year; however, it can also be a very stressful time of year. Holiday spending can turn into a big headache and financial problems after the holidays. Decorating, cooking, wrapping gifts and holiday parties can also create feelings of tension. Planning can help to alleviate overspending and overbooking yourself.

Six tips to keep spending down and feel in control:
  1. Set a holiday budget and keep track of what you spend. Include all expenditures, not just the cost of gifts. Figure costs of food, entertainment, decorations, travel expenses, holiday cards and postage as well as the cost of new clothes for the season. If possible, look at how much you spent last year to help set your budget.
  2. Decide how you will cope with stress. Taking a short walk or putting on some music at home to dance to will help burn calories and clear your mind.
  3. Plan whenever you can. If you are going to make cookies or donate cookies, select a family favorite, double it and put the extras in the freezer to keep them fresh and have them available for family gatherings.
  4. Avoid impulse shopping. Start shopping far enough in advance, so you will not be pressured to buy the first item you see in the store or catalog. This allows you to compare similar items and take advantage of sales.
  5. If entertaining family and friends consumes a large part of your holiday budget, consider pot luck dinners or plan the menu and divide the preparation among the people attending instead of shouldering all the work and expense yourself.
  6. Help keep your family and yourself from getting sick by encouraging everyone to wash hands before meal preparation and eating, cooking foods to proper temperatures, keeping foods at the proper temperature and avoiding cross contamination.

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