The holiday season brings with it a lot of expectations from the young and old. Rising inflation is a significant concern for revellers as the Christmas season approaches. Travelling, entertainment, gift purchases, and other miscellaneous expenses quickly lead to unplanned overspending and unproductive debt. Holiday stress can have lasting effects and often manifests in many ways. The fear of overspending and the need to stick to a tight budget often creates anxiety, sadness, and irritability in many adults. Depression, poor eating habits, and sleeping disorders arising from holiday stress may compromise your physical health by increasing your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and cognitive disorders.
Here are some suggestions for managing holiday financial stress;
1. Prepare a budget and stick to it
Holiday commitments can be costly when you don't plan appropriately. Suppose you are travelling out of town for the holidays; include reasonable estimates for travel, food, & accommodation. Always have a contingency of 10% of your budget as a backup for unforeseen charges or spending. This will help reduce anxiety by eliminating sticker shock prices when travelling. Crafting a holiday budget in advance boosts accountability and helps cut down on impulse spending.
2. Tame your gift spending
Choosing the perfect gift for your loved ones can be costly and overwhelming. The pressure to meet expectations during holidays can take its toll on your financial and mental health. Plan how much you intend to spend on gifts and find creative ways to keep everything within budget. Prepare your shopping list in early November, and look out for the deals during blow-out sales, Black Friday and Cyber Mondays.
3. Create time for yourself
It is easy to get lost in the festivities and frenzy of the holiday season at the expense of your physical and mental well-being. Prioritize self-care by getting a massage, yoga, and meditation session to relax and relieve holiday anxiety. Staying fit by walking, hiking, and stretching are excellent ways to exercise and release tension and stress during the holiday season.
4. Avoid eating out
Eating out during the holiday season is always costly, especially in our current economic climate. Food prices have increased, making it difficult to justify spending money eating out. Instead, consider home-cooked meals for lunch and avoid take-out when at work. Organize a potluck dinner if you are hosting it at your home. Having guests bring one of their fave side dishes will help your mental stress and not hurt your pockets. Everyone goes through the same thing during the holiday season and understands hospitality expenses.
Holidays are often associated with festivities and unforgettable memories with loved ones. The desire to meet the holiday season's expectations can quickly lead to many people's anxiety and other mental health issues. Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or a mental healthcare professional whenever a situation gets too overwhelming.