10 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

holiday stressWhile the holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year, it often comes hand-in-hand with enormous amounts of stress. Here are 10 tips to stay organized and sane until after New Year’s:

1. Only shop during off hours. Aim for opening time, or late evenings to avoid large crowds.

2. Prioritize and schedule the different tasks on your list.

3. Try organizing a cookie exchange. Instead of baking several different kinds yourself, make a plan with a couple of friends and then get together to swap. You’ll all leave with a large assortment of cookies your family and loved ones can enjoy.

4. Don’t address long-standing family conflicts during this overwhelming period.

5. Call a babysitter far in advance!

6. Always underestimate how much you can accomplish in a day, and overestimate how long each activity will take. Everything will get done, with a lot less pressure.
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7. Try starting a new tradition. Maybe Dad and the kids should make breakfast on Christmas morning?

8. On occasion, treat yourself between errands. Consider taking half an hour of your day for a manicure or pedicure, haircut or afternoon coffee with a friend.

9. Look for out-of-the-way cashiers to avoid waiting in long lines.

10. Buy group presents whenever possible. For example, don’t buy each child a gift- invest in something everyone will enjoy, like a board game or a ping-pong table. Similarly, organize a girl’s night out instead of exchanging gifts with friends.


How to Stay Focused at Work this Holiday Season

working holiday seasonStaying focused at work during the holiday season can be extremely challenging. There is so much distracting you from your duties, including parties and family reunions, shopping, planning, traveling, children home from school, and more.

International business speaker Michael Kerr explained, “There are so many competing demands and expectations during the holidays that it is very easy to get overwhelmed and even burnt out.”

“Travel planning, guest preparations, gift shopping, children’s events, parties and so on must be crammed into already-full schedules, which causes stress,” added Casey Moore, The Productivity Coach. “Personal stress often affects work performance. It distracts people and diminishes productivity.” People also lose motivation, she said. “They’re more interested in their personal lives, whether from their stress, their to-dos, or their love of the holidays.”

It is also hard to remain motivated when co-workers and managers are away on vacation. Workflow slows down significantly, and keeping up a high level of productivity is difficult.

Here are 14 ways to stay focused at work during this year’s holiday season, according to Forbes:

  1. Take a few days off.
  2. Plan early and communicate your expectations and schedule.
  3. Create your to-do list and prioritize tasks.
  4. Avoid multitasking.
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  6. Start working on year-end projects and personal tasks early.
  7. Don’t take your work home.
  8. Get into the spirit.
  9. Watch out for distractions.
  10. Take care of yourself physically.
  11. Don’t over-commit.
  12. Remind yourself to stay focused at work.
  13. Do a self-evaluation.
  14. Look forward to next year.
  15. Remember what the holidays are all about.

Post-Christmas Shopping and Holiday Deals

Retailers across America have been anticipating December 26th, the day after Christmas, for weeks now. This year’s post-Christmas shop will be even more dramatic, since it fell out on a Monday.

The day is a shopping day every year, with shoppers ready to exchange items or redeem gift cards at the break of dawn. Last year, however, the 26th was a Sunday; a day often dedicated to family time, and a day on which blue laws usually require at least limited opening hours for stores. This year, it’s a Monday, and often still a vacation from work, too.

ShopperTrak, a retail research firm, predicted that foot traffic on the 26th would be 60% up from last year’s day-after-Christmas. In a survey from American Express, 57% of Americans said they planned to shop on the 26th, while last year the number reached 43%.

In general, after Christmas sales are popular for reasons other than just gift cards. Millions of Americans reported that they decided to cut back or delay on their Christmas spending, with many waiting for the 50% or 75% discounts available throughout the country after the holidays. A survey revealed that 6% of respondents are waiting until after January to do the majority of their shopping.
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Retailers, on the other hand, prefer that shoppers buy sooner rather than later. Hundreds of stores offered 40% and 50% off deals BEFORE Christmas, instead of waiting.

The chief executive of a retailer explained: “The inventory is worth so much less in two weeks. With that kind of inventory, you’ve got to get rid of it. Whatever the margin is today, it’s that much lower next week and the week after when traffic stops.”

Avoiding Bloat This Holiday Season

Holiday season is now advancing in full throttle. You have outfits picked out for every occasion, new shoes, and have even managed to maintain that diet (for the most part). Why, then, do your clothes only seem to sit well on some days, while on others you feel and look so bloated?

Don’t panic. A bloated stomach is almost never related to weight gain, and it is often easily remedied. First, cut back on salty foods before your event. This does not only mean avoid adding salt to your dish; sodium is a primary ingredient in most processed foods. Salt is the number one cause of bloating in an otherwise healthy body, because it triggers water retention throughout the system. When your body retains water, it will inevitably look and feel bloated. To avoid such retention, cut back on salt intake. Other ‘diuretic’ substances also dehydrate your body, encouraging it to retain water. These include alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine and even fruit juice.

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The best way to avoid the bloated feeling is to avoid too much of any of these substances. Try eating fruits, vegetables and lean proteins instead, at least for the day or two before your big event. Make sure to avoid sprouts and vegetables like broccoli though, as those also contribute to bloating. Milk products are also a common irritant in the human digestive system, and can linger in the stomach for hours.