Enjoying the holidays with less stress

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The holidays should be joyful and relaxing, filled with quality family time, but with all the pressures of gift buying, parties and traveling, you might view the season a bit differently. Whether you’re worried about money, checking everyone off your gift list or sending your holiday cards, it seems there’s never enough time to get everything done.

But the season doesn’t have to bring about feelings of stress and anxiety. When you focus on all the happiness the season brings, you can get back to enjoying what the holidays are all about.

Here are some tips to help you beat the many holiday stressors and enjoy this time of year:

Get organized.

Never underestimate the power of list-making and planning. Use a planner or your phone to keep track of all the tasks and events on your to-do list. Crossing items off as you go will help keep your stress levels in check.

Avoid taking on debt.

Money worries are one of the biggest triggers for holiday stress, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into debt. By planning and sticking to a budget, you can easily avoid spending too much. Decide what you can truly afford given your regular bills and expenses and don’t overlook easy ways to find “hidden” money in unexpected places. Gather all your coins from coat pockets and jars around the house and take them to a Coinstar kiosk where you can convert coins to cash or no fee eGift Cards. Be sure to also check your wallet for gift cards you may never use, because bright yellow Coinstar Exchange kiosks offer instant cash when you sell your gift card and are conveniently located at grocery stores.

Be realistic.

You can only make it to so many parties and events in a given time frame, so don’t overdo it. You don’t have to be the perfect holiday host or please every one of your family members. Instead, focus on the traditions and holiday events that mean the most to you. If family events tend to overwhelm you, remember it’s OK to set a time limit for any event or visit.

Take time for yourself.

Sixty-six percent of holiday shoppers can name at least one thing they’d be willing to do to ensure they can purchase gifts for everyone, including eating out less, spending less on entertainment and taking on credit card debt, according to the Coinstar Holiday Survey conducted by Kelton Research. Try not to take enjoyable activities out of your budget, if you can. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie every now and then to keep yourself sane when the stressors are piling up.

Get active.

Stick to your normal exercise routine and make a point to get out and move. Regular exercise decreases feelings of anxiety, releases endorphins and improves your sleep quality, which are things you could use during the holidays. And even though it may be dark for a large portion of the day, spend a few minutes outside or sit near a window on particularly sunny days.

When you incorporate these tips into your routine, you’ll find it easier to enjoy all the wonderful things that come along with the holiday season. And instead of collapsing in relief at the end of the season, you’ll carry that calm and positive momentum right into the New Year.

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