Holidays: Weather, “to-dos” and money

Thank you for joining us for this week’s blog! We tackled a heavy subject last week when we focused on how family dynamics can cause stress throughout the holidays. This week, we’re going to focus on some items that are a little lighter, but still stress-inducing: financial limitations, weather changes and the never-ending “to-do” list.

The combination of just reading about these three items makes me feel stressed. It doesn’t help that if you are anything like me, you haven’t even started your holiday shopping yet! Talk about creating stress for myself! The stress from these items results from typically feeling like you don’t have enough finances to purchase the things you want to, there are too many items on that “to-do” list, and the weather is just starting to take a turn for the worse. I am going to provide you with some tips to both better understand and tackle each of these stressors.

Financial limitations

When we look at the stress of our financial constraints and the holidays, the connection is pretty clear. It connects back to the previously discussed topics of our expectations of ourselves and the expectations we have of others. When these items mix together, we start to feel the pressure to spend more or wish we could spend more. However, the reality is that you are not alone – almost everyone is in the exact same situation! Acknowledging this should, in and of itself, help you by giving you permission to let go of the pressure. 

Instead of worrying about presents, worry about your presence. Focus on being in the moment and spending time with the people you love. This is a fantastic way to shift much stress we experience and also saves us a little money. Gift buying is sometimes stressful as we feel the pressure to buy specific gifts from certain stores, for example. Focusing on spending time with people and perhaps giving a card with a personal and thoughtful message will almost certainly achieve the same result as an expensive gift.  

The never-ending “to-do” list

The list of to-do’s is never-ending in reality – so don’t treat it as if you can get it all done! The best way to tackle that list is to prioritize – determine:

(1) what you absolutely need to do,

(2) what would be nice to do, and

(3) what would be a miracle to do.

As you work your way through the list, focus on completing each task before starting the next. Also, make sure you ask for help and celebrate each time you complete a task. Finally, I have told clients in the past to throw out the list they have right now without looking at it and start a new one. This will eliminate the stuff that is really not that important. 

Weather Changes

The weather changes are something that we all feel like we should be getting used to, but never quite get there. Each year we know we can expect it to change eventually, but it’s always hard when it finally happens. For some, the weather changes can cause physical distress. The best way to combat this is to be prepared by checking weather reports often, and having the right apparel with you at all times, including in your vehicle (if that’s your mode of transportation). If you typically experience headaches or migraines, plan your social calendar appropriately, so you don’t feel the pressure to attend events. 

With these three challenges that we face around the holidays, it’s important to remember to practice self-care. Remembering to take some time for yourself (in whichever way makes you feel good) can help to battle some of these difficulties that we all experience. 

If you haven’t had a chance yet, make sure you sign up below to receive our free guide on managing stress – which would be helpful as you’re reviewing the tips we provided above. 

In our next blog, we will take a look at a few more contributors to holiday stress: lack of time, social commitments, and maintaining your physical health and wellness. 

If you have tried the techniques listed in the guide and still find it challenging to manage the stress, let us support you! It can be challenging to set boundaries and understand how to be realistic when we are already stressed. We encourage you to reach out, and we will provide you with some outside perspective.  

If you are interested in counselling or would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us, we would be happy to speak with you.