The holiday season is a peak period for social gatherings, party planning and seemingly endless errands. Between organizing and attending business and social events, you might begin to feel overwhelmed and experience "holiday burnout," says Dawn O'Connor, director and productivity ninja with Think Productive in Calgary.
With invitations coming from friends, family, and colleagues, many people risk over-committing during the holidays, says O'Connor, who advises: "Don't say ‘yes' to every event just to save face."
To ensure this year's festivities don't take their toll, here are four tips to consider:
> Avoid the mall
One of the biggest stressors of the season is shopping for gifts. If you find stores and malls stressful, try doing your shopping online, O'Connor says. You can simplify the process by creating a "waiting" folder on your computer to track your orders and receipts.
If you're struggling to come up with gift ideas, that might just mean that your recipients already have everything they need. So, instead of giving gifts, O'Connor says, make charitable donations on the recipients' behalf.
Another alternative (and time saver) is to give consumable items, such as food and wine to friends and family members.
> Outsource errands
Get help when possible to avoid over-extending yourself. "There are all kinds of services that you can call on to help you make your life easier," O'Connor says.
For example, instead of spending days in the kitchen, you can order pre-made holiday meals, including turkey dinners, O'Connor says. You can also save time by using gift-wrapping services or even hiring someone to hang your holiday decorations.
> Tackle chores as a team
Collaborate on large responsibilities with neighbours, friends and family members, O'Connor says. By soliciting contributions from an extended group of people, you can accomplish hefty tasks in a much shorter time.
One of O'Connor's clients, for example, joins forces with her neighbours to make Christmas dinner. Each household is responsible for preparing large quantities of one or two dishes to be divided up among the group. Each house has its own private family gathering, but the meal itself is a neighbourhood collaboration.
> Practice self care
It's easy to neglect healthy eating and exercise over the holidays, O'Connor says, but both should remain priorities if you hope to reduce stress.
And make sure you're creating spare time to relax, O'Connor says, whether that's by reading a book, jogging around the block or meditating for ten minutes.