Holiday Stress Relief Tips

How to Stress Less During Holiday Shopping

Preparing for the holiday shopping adventure can be a little daunting, to say the least. Getting ready for dealing with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping? Here are some tips to keep the joy of the holiday season.

Arm yourself with a list.  Be as thorough as possible when making your shopping list. Write down everyone, including those easily forgotten folks like your hair stylist, schoolteacher and Secret Santa gift buddy at the office. Once you have written your list, jot down what you would like to purchase. This is the time to decide to eliminate on your list this year. Also you may want to make plans for homemade gifts such as baked goods. Just keep in mind both your budget and time.

Let your smart phone to do the work. There are a number of apps to help you get through the holiday season. Better Christmas List is an app that helps you keep track of your gift list as well as your budget. TGI Black Friday app helps you track down Black Friday ads for major stores. This app also does comparison price shopping as well as creates a shopping list for you. Red Laser is a bar code scanner app that does comparison price shopping for you with Google Product Search and EBay. These are just a few well-rated apps to make the season a little brighter.

Shop Cyber Monday.  Internet shopping can not only save you time but can help you stay on budget. Your favorite stores are online and you can shop in your pajamas. The biggest online holiday deals happen the Monday following Thanksgiving, or Cyber Monday. Be ready to find discounts that will offset shipping costs. Keep track of purchases and your budget as you shop from your computer. Take a break if you find yourself tempted to make an emotional buy.

Shop during off hours. I personally love to shop during off peak hours. I usually wait until retailers extend their night holiday hours just after Thanksgiving. There are still sales in progress and the crowds are limited. This shopping time gives me room to breathe during this busy shopping season.

Save your receipts. Get ready for wrong-sized items, broken toys or somebody just not too fond of their gift.  After a day of holiday shopping, I cross the gift off my list and place it in an envelope for safe keeping. I usually keep them for about 90 days after purchase, just in case anybody needs the receipt for a return.

Check for free gift wrapping.   After making your purchase check and see if the store offer free gift wrapping. Make sure you tag the gifts after the purchase to keep track of your gifts.

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For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

Stress and Holidays: How to Plan for a Thankful Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday brings back fond memories from many years ago. Mom and dad would bundle up the kids and travel to my grandparents’ home. Dad would always sing “Over the River and Through the Woods” while we were driving to spend time with kin. My grandparents were so rich with the gifts they gave from their hearts. We would squeeze upwards of 25 people in their tiny home. I was so excited to see our family from Ohio since we only connected during the Thanksgiving holiday.  These are fond memories that I hold dear in my heart.

Holidays can create beautiful memories at the same time as cause stressful situations.  Here are some tips to keep the Thanksgiving holiday a treasured memory:

Plan for Dinner, Dishes, and Decorations.  All fabulous feasts start with a good plan. The plan includes a menu, guest list, decorations, table setting and cooking and clean up duties. If you have people who want to easily communicate with each other, create a Dropbox account. It’s an online program where you can share files between dinner attendees who are helping with the menu and more. Create files for your plan that everyone can contribute to make the perfect meal. Great planning also includes asking for help. Create a sign-up sheet so people may bring dishes.  I always love to try a new recipe before a big event. This prevents having a mediocre dish for dinner.

Put the Give Back in Thanksgiving.  Give to another person or family this Thanksgiving season. When stressed, we get so focused on the big day event that we forget those who may not have something to eat or a place to go. One of my favorite things to do is ask someone to spend the day that would otherwise be alone. Share toys at a local children’s hospital or bring homemade food and goodies to a nursing home facility. Give to another person less fortunate than you when you are feeling obsessed about the perfect holiday. Your perspective will immediately change.

Make Time for You. Open your date book and look at the next two weeks. Do you see any recharge time planned for you? Plan a 30-minute massage, reading or relaxation time. Break up the time with refueling your energy tank. Do what it takes to give back to you.

Look at Your Expectations. Some folks search for that perfect holiday. It’s the Thanksgiving with the ideal table setting, food, guests who all get along and nothing goes wrong all day. Check your expectations to make sure you have left space for life to happen. I love my childhood Thanksgiving memories but I can’t recreate them.  Families change over the course of many years. Setting the expectation bar to high sets you up for misery. Be present in the moment of Thanksgiving.

Leave a comment below about hints that help reduce your stress for Thanksgiving below!


For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

Four Holiday Stress Relief Tips For a Happy Yuletide Season

Stress relief tools are an important key to a happy holiday season. One of my top ten holiday memories is celebrating Christmas Eve with my niece. Our tradition was eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant then determining which home won the “Tacky Christmas Light Tour.” We drove around several streets picking the over-decorated contenders before determining the winner. I remember her sweet laughter and genuine excitement when looking forward to spending Christmas Eve with Aunt Lisa. This was a very effortless tradition that wraps my heart with love each holiday season. This experience has taught me something so simply done can bond family members for years to come. How can you beat holiday stress and keep your sanity?  Here are four stress management tips to help you through the holiday season:

Tip# 1Plan Ahead-Maybe we should take notes from Santa about checking his list twice. Here’s a hint that I do frequently, not just during the holidays. Begin by randomly writing down tasks or activities planned. Once you’ve finished the list, divide the tasks into projects. This will help you clearly see what you can complete ahead of time. Lists are made to be tweaked. You can carry a mini-recorder with you to quickly make sure an idea gets on the list. And, there are smart phone applications that can capture and record those genius holiday ideas, too. Shop online and have gifts delivered for you. Sure, you may be spending a little extra for wrapping and shipping but do compare how much your time and sanity is worth per hour.

Tip# 2- Examine your expectations realistically. Do time-honored traditions still hold that very special place in your heart? Or are traditions done “just because” the activity has been done for years? One tradition that I hold dear each holiday season is making turkey stuffing. Not just any recipe but one that has been passed down from my father. The smell that fills the house evokes sweet memories of those childhood moments in the kitchen with my father. This recipe makes enough stuffing to feed a small army so I make it in manageable batches. This is a great example of carrying on the tradition but not making so much stuffing that I spend all morning in the kitchen.

Tip# 3- Ask for help. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Asking for help can be the most difficult words to pass your lips during the holidays. There couldn’t be a bigger stress relief tool than reaching out to others for help. Before you hit your fatigue or temper level, take a break and re-examine if you have to do the task by yourself. Not asking for help could rob a family member from contributing to an activity that may later be a treasured memory. So, before you don your cape for a super hero day, take a deep breath and share with your loved ones to create lasting memories.

Tip# 4- Take time for you. Maintain as much of a regular routine as possible during this very busy season. Keep your regular sleep routine and avoid marathon gift wrapping or cooking activities. Keep up with your yoga or meditation practice as much as possible.  And, of course, schedule a massage for a minimum of thirty minutes to relieve your stress or eliminate a painful neck or back.

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