Your Holiday Survival Guide

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Amelia Phillips

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Last year, two days into our holiday, my husband told me he would be more relaxed if he went back to work! That was when I knew something had to change. This year I’ve learned from our over committing mistakes and have created some guidelines to make these holidays more relaxing and fun.

Here are 13 super handy tips to relieve some of that stress off your mind:

  1. Create A Budget: If you’ve blown the budget over Christmas, sit down and plan a realistic one for the next few months to get back on track. It will help remove any anxiety and set you up for a good year of financial control.
  2. Go In With Realistic Expectations: Family dramas during the holidays are almost prerequisite. If you’re having your partner’s parents over for lunch, make sure you’re mentally and emotionally prepared. Don’t get too drunk in front of them or don’t give them too much either. If an arguments with a sibling or cousin is unresolved, then take that conversation off the dinner table. Don’t give stress to yourself and everyone around you on the most happiest day of the year. Be grateful you’re all together and fake a smile, if you have to.
  3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Be respectful to your family as you would your colleagues or close friends. Don’t take anyone for granted because you don’t realise how important they are when they’re with you, you only value their worth in your life when they move away from you. So cherish these moments (even if they’re tense) and respect them.
  4. Lighten Up: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. You can still be there and show you care, but don’t get tanked with the emotional negativity of the situation, especially not during this time of the year.
  5. Drink Smart: Never drink up on an empty stomach! Not only is it dangerous for your health, but they’re also likely to make you say and do things you might regret later on.
  6. Banish Guilt: Join the club of not feeling guilty for the holidays; that’s what this time of the year is for. Feeling guilty of how many calories you consumed will only cause stress, which contributes to weight gain. Move on! And worry about it tomorrow – you don’t do this everyday.
  7. Exercise Early: I’ve always said this, get a jumpstart on your workout first thing in the morning on Christmas day. In fact, I challenge you to do so. This way, all those holiday distractions don’t become an excuse for why you couldn’t sweat a little.
  8. Champagne In The Fridge: Have a big bunch of surprise visitors? Always keep a few bottles of Prosecco (around $10 a bottle) in the fridge during this time of the year. I like to keep some fresh berries in the fridge as well, this way I can jazz up the drinks a little.
  9. Cheese Platters: A versatile snack option for visitors during the holidays – cheese! Simply stock your dairy drawer with a soft goat cheese (garnish with fresh ground black pepper), a hard cheddar, and camembert. Pair with water crackers, fig jam, sliced apples, strawbs and a bunch of grapes. Add height to the platter with some breadsticks in an upright jar.
  10. Candles everywhere: The ultimate party trick is to set up candles everywhere if decoration makes your nerves tremble. Mix pillar candles with taper candles with small votive candles and a couple of beautiful scented ones – and pop them everywhere around the living and dining area. Instant fanciness!
  11. Be Thankful: Probably my favourite tip and one that really works. Start a gratitude journal and reflect upon the things that you’re grateful for. We need to give the ‘good stuff’ time and attention – not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year. Several researches have shown that keeping a gratitude journal is an effective tool in decreasing depressive symptoms.

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