Close up of woman writing in a notebook on her bed, cozy winter holiday morning

We all feel stress from time to time. The holidays seem to make busy schedules feel even busier. Planning ahead can help make the holidays memorable—in a good way. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

  • Know your budget.
    Decide how much you can comfortably spend. For gifts, you might have a money limit or decide to give homemade gifts this year. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to show someone you care.
  • Have realistic expectations.
    No holiday gathering is perfect. Don’t let something like forgetting to defrost the turkey ruin the day. Be flexible, and let it become another holiday memory. View these experiences as chances to practice being resilient.
  • Communicate clearly.
    After you’ve made a plan, share it. When traveling between households, let others know when you plan to come and go. Clear communication can lead to more realistic expectations and less stress.
  • Make time for you.
    Take time to renew your energy. You might say no to some things or people so you can do this. That’s okay. When you say no to some things, you can say yes to others. Choose what gives you energy or makes you feel calm. That might be visiting a friend, reading a book, or going for a walk on your own.
  • Involve everyone in making the holidays special.
    Share the work of preparing for and cleaning up after the holidays. For example, ask for help when making cookies. One person can make the dough, while another person scoops and bakes the cookies. Someone else can help by cleaning up the dishes and wiping down the table.
  • Get professional help if you need it.
    The holidays can be a big event. And stress leading up to them is common. Talking to a friend or family member may help. But you may also want to see a counselor before the holidays start. They can help you change the way you handle stress.