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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday an agreement between New York State and the St. Regis Mohawk tribe that would honor the...
We all know three truths: the holiday season is meant to be a time of love, appreciation, and joy. Nothing can kill all of these emotions quicker than stress and frustration. And, unfortunately, the holidays can be some of the most stressful and frustrating times of the year. However, achieving an easy and enjoyable holiday is possible, with just a few tips and foresights.
The two most prevalent stressors during the holiday season seem insurmountable: overspending and overeating. Money and food constantly appear as we shop and prepare holiday dinners, but even though it may not feel this way, there are a few initiatives that can help lower costs and calories.
When going shopping or dealing with money in general, it is essential to make a plan. A list or other form of budget balancing helps you visualize your actual expenditures in front of you, instead of trying to add and subtract in your head. Planning beforehand can help you catch yourself “spending” too much, and to decide which gifts and prices are unnecessary and extravagant. If you have a large extended family, try drawing lots so that each family buys for one other family, or that each pair of adults gives to one niece or nephew. Everyone will still be giving and receiving, but the pocketbooks will not be exhausted! When shopping, start early and do not rush, or you will be more likely to be excessive. Sometimes taking a set amount of cash and promising not to use the card can help budget. If a mall is very close, sometimes cautious travel in a storm can have big rewards, as many retailers will host huge sales to try and get business out of bad weather. And be sure that when you are finished shopping, go home! Advertisements and stores are constantly trying to draw in more buyers, and the longer you dally after a spree, the more likely you are to spend more. Besides, you still have a lot of wrapping to do – better go home and start early on it!
Believe it or not, there are several healthy and satisfying food options for both cook and guest during the holiday season. There are hundreds of recipes, books, and online sites with healthy alternative recipes for chefs with all level of skills. Giving the extra effort to be completely healthy or at least offer less fattening alternatives will be highly appreciated by all your guests, even the anti-dieters, because it will all still be delicious! Outside of the kitchen, it can seem very difficult to find healthy choices amidst the tantalizing array of party and junk food. But by avoiding the cheeseballs and indulging instead in succulent shrimp (how often do you eat that outside of holidays?), uncooked vegetables, hummus, and other satisfying delights. Want to have the traditional hot chocolate mug? Make a dark chocolate cup – it is better for you, and will fill you up faster, so you will drink less. Craving for a candy cane? If the peppermint oil ingredient is natural, go for it – as a plus, natural peppermint reduces stress. Take the breast of the turkey while it is being served – it is the closest relative to healthy grilled chicken. You will find yourself surprisingly full and satisfied, while everyone else is filling up on chips and consuming more and more calories.
After you have money and food under control, there is one more huge help to controlling stress: PLAN AHEAD. The more prepared you are, and the more you do in advance, the fewer little tasks will pile up on you last minute, creating anxiety and stress. Knowing what you want and what you need to do before the last two weeks before the holidays comes up will give you the leisure to do everything the way you want it, work at your own pace without rushing, and be satisfied with the results. So make lists and keep everything documented – your goals, ideas, gifts, etc. Cook food ahead of time and freeze it and send cards early. If you feel like it all may be too much, delegate responsibilities. Even a five-year old can help you write & sign cards (even illegible handwriting is cute from young grandchildren), and the whole process will run much faster with more hands.
Throughout your incredibly stress-relieving journey to create the best possible holiday season, remember the overarching key to enjoying yourself: Enjoy yourself. Have fun. Remember what this holiday means to you, and always keep that to heart. Part of stress during this season is forgetting that one goal. So plan ahead for the holidays – and prepare yourself for joy!