Don’t Let Holiday Stress Ruin Your Goals this Winter

Around early November, the glitz, glamour and cheerfulness of the holiday season become more apparent in shopping malls, on the radio, and on television commercials, but no amount of Black Friday deals or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer songs can cover up the reality that the holidays are a stressful time for even the most jubilant Americans.

Holiday stress seems inevitable given that you may be juggling obligations with family and friend, frequent travel, and gift buying coupled with your regular responsibilities. Throw a job loss, a hardship, or nagging mother-in-law in the mix, and you’ve got yourself an anxiety-ridden two months ahead of you. It’s important to find ways to combat this stress so that you can not only enjoy time with your loved ones, but also stick to your goals, financial and otherwise. Stress can cause us to loosen our resolve when it comes to sticking to a budget, completing projects, and staying healthy, so it’s important to come up with a game plan to finish out the year strong.

1. Track your progress.  Breaking your budget or giving up on your “exercise three times a week rule” may not seem like a big deal initially, but if you look back at what you have accomplished in recent months, it may put your successes in perspective and persuade you to stick to your guns. Keeping a visual aid of your goals with you can also help you avoid giving in to temptation, such as a travel brochure of the vacation you’re saving for or a countdown of how long you have until you reach your goal.

2. Do one thing each day that relaxes you.  When you’re in a positive mood, you are less likely to make snap judgments and you can handle stressful situations more calmly. Taking a few moments each day to do something that brings you happiness or relaxes you can help you stay positive when you’re looking for a new job or brainstorming gift ideas. Read a passage from your favorite book, listen to seasonal music, or take a yoga class to get your mind off of stressful events in your life that are bringing you down.

3. Remember what the holidays are for.  This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in planning your Thanksgiving meal and decor or trying to find the perfect gift for that important person in your life. When you re-evaluate your holiday expectations, the small things we tend to get caught up with may not seem so significant and it may make it easier to stay on track with your normal day-to-day activities.