“The holidays can be exciting and fun, but they can also be stressful,” says Noel C. Borck, Management Co-Chairman of the LHSFNA and Executive Vice President of the NEA – the Association of Union Constructors. “Thinking ahead about how you will use your time and money can keep the stress to a minimum.”
The LHSFNA Health Promotion Division identified these ways to minimize stress during the holidays.
- Don’t blow your budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend ahead of time and stick to that amount.
- Budget your time as well as your money. Don’t over commit your free time.
- Start planning your gift list as early as possible. Next year, make it a point to jot down ideas for gifts when you think of them.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. Share responsibilities with your family.
- Add a bit of the true spirit of the season by giving a gift to someone who doesn’t expect it, visiting an old friend or giving to someone in need.
- Make some fun plans for January, when the post-holiday blues can set in.
- If the stress gets to be too much, seek the help of a professional.
Holiday Spending Tips
- Prepare a budget on what you can realistically afford. In addition to gifts, include extra expenses such as holiday foods, party clothes, holiday décor, and postage.
- If it has been a challenging year financially, shrink your holiday spending.
- Talk with those you exchange gifts with, set dollar amounts on presents.
- Pick names so each person only buys one gift rather than gifts for everyone.
- Make lists and know what you can afford to spend.
- Pay with cash or debit card, leave your credit cards at home. If you cannot afford to pay outright, do not buy.
- Watch advertising flyers for items you intend to buy.
- Avoid shopping when rushed.
- Avoid last minute shopping, complete holiday shopping by December 20.
- Shop by catalog instead of driving all over town.
- Comparison shop; call stores using the yellow pages or use the internet and compare offers on line.
- Be creative – homemade gifts or offers to baby sit or do something for someone can be an inexpensive yet very personal gift.
- Start saving for next year.
Diet and Exercise are Factors, Too
The holidays typically encourage people to indulge in high-fat, high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. It is also the time of year we’re most likely to make excuses for skipping exercise. Yet, it’s an important time of year to maintain a balanced diet and stick with your exercise regiment.
Here are some holiday survival tips:
- Exercise during the holidays. Exercise to burn calories, relieve stress and elevate endorphins (feel good hormones) and mood.
- Don’t skip meals. Hunger and low blood sugar lead to overeating.
- Plan meals by keeping in mind the demands you’ll have on your schedule that day.
- Don’t pass up favorite foods or deprive yourself completely. Moderate consumption is suggested.
- Don’t go to a party starving. Before you leave work or home, eat something light such as vegetable soup or fruit.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water. We often mistake thirst for hunger and eat unnecessarily. A lack of water/hydration can contribute to stress.
- When you attend holiday parties, don’t station yourself near the buffet table.
- Alcoholic beverages have hidden calories. If you’re drinking alcohol stick to light beer or spritzers, limit your number of drinks and have a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you consume. Stay away from frozen and mixed drinks; these tend to have more calories.
- If you have a pair of favorite form fitting jeans, try them on each week to see how they fit and to keep you “honest.”
- Think ahead to January and how you want to look and feel. Is the extra food that you’re eating now worth gaining weight and feeling badly in January?
- Reward yourself with non-food items as an incentive to control your eating at difficult times.
- Enjoy the season, not just the food!