Lauren Cobello » Budgeting » Frugal Living » 5 Tips for Coping with the Holiday ‘Hangover’
Congratulations you survived another holiday season! Finally, all the shopping, preparing, rushing, cooking, cleaning, and everything else is either done or winding down. But unfortunately, sometimes the holidays ending doesn’t reduce stress; sometimes we feel more anxious and discouraged having to face the coming year. When we spend weeks (or possibly months) gearing up for the holiday season and flip the calendar only to see about a million things that need to be done, it can lead to overwhelm and decision fatigue. I’m here to help with some tips on coping with the holiday hangover.
This may sound counterintuitive when you feel like you have so much to do, but take a moment to ask yourself, “Do I really need to get everything done this second?“
Personally, when I am feeling very stressed, I need to pause and really ask myself, “Are any of these decisions life-threatening?” Chances are your world won’t come to a crashing halt if it takes you an extra day or two to take down the Christmas decorations. It might not hurt your quality of life if you wait an extra week to bag up clothes to donate or sell.
Yes, I understand having our homes clean and put back together can go a long way to help us relax. But NOT if it adds additional and unnecessary stress. Think about what needs to be done and, if nothing is pressing, take a day to sleep in, spend time with family, and just enjoy life! You may find you’ll feel more prepared to handle the aftermath of the holidays.
I’m going to be completely honest: I have a love/hate relationship with to-do lists. To-Do lists can be AWESOME, but they can cause a lot of anxiety. Somehow, having these items written down makes it so vitally important and crucial. It can even add an unneeded sense of urgency. Urgency can add stress and anxiety and it seems like there is certainly enough of this going around!
A to-do list helps us focus and prioritize. After the holidays there are so many things we need to take care of, and so many things to remember. So, a to-do list can really help you get your head on straight and get yourself focused.
Keep your to-do list manageable and not overwhelming. You’ve just survived one of the more stressful times of the year. Let’s keep things simple. Make your to-do lists short term. What do you need to get done in the coming week? What do you WANT to get done in the next week?
One way we go wrong with to-do lists is to ignore the difference between wants and needs. If we wrote down everything we would like to do AND everything we have to do, our list would be a mile and a half long. This isn’t encouraging or helpful. I know I tend to get reluctant to work on my to-do lists when they seem longer than my arm. Start small and move up.
Did you just cringe when you read this? This is probably one of the most stressful parts of our life under the best of circumstances. . . but now? Chances are, you’ve just spent a good amount of money on gifts, food, and other expenses. Most of us don’t want to even THINK about our budget, let alone see how we did, but this is an important piece of coping with the holiday hangover.
Here’s the thing to remember though: Even if you ‘blew’ your budget, don’t give up!
We all get carried away. You won’t do yourself any favors by throwing out the idea of a budget altogether.
Here’s another thing to remember, and this one is more ‘tough love’. You HAVE to sit down and look at your budget and plan accordingly for the coming year. That’s right. Even if you feel like you failed. You need to make yourself accountable.
The new year is only the beginning. You have plenty of time to get your finances back on track! Plus, by getting a budget plan back in place you may find that your head is back in the game and you are ready to have a great year. If you need help getting on track with budgeting and finances, I invite you to check out my Crush your Debt Program.
While setting goals sounds pretty similar to to-do lists, they are actually a little different. Goals are crucial because they help us plan our decisions for the upcoming future. Having clear goals can be such a relief in many ways. Similar to how creating a budget can be a monumentally important first step in getting control of your finances, creating goals can be a great first step in getting control over the stress and uncertainty of your future.
Goals don’t need to fit any particular criteria, they just need to fit what you are looking for. For example, many people love having super specific goals because that’s what works for them. It’s not wrong to have more vague goals, so long as it keeps you focused. Your goals can be as simple as creating a chore routine, having a weekly (or bi-weekly) grocery budget, saving a certain amount of money per month, spending more time as a family, etc.
The key is that your goals not be overwhelming and be measurable. If your goal can’t be measured, how can you know if you were successful? Obviously, if you can be sure you are succeeding then you feel more confident and hopefully more able to move forward. You can learn more about how to set up SMART goals here.
Something I think people struggle with after the holidays is a feeling of hopelessness and discouragement. The new year is just getting started. You can have a successful year!
Remember all the things you have accomplished, learn from your mistakes, and grow. You can achieve your goals and I hope to help you on your journey.
I hope that this after holiday lull hasn’t left you feeling defeated and discouraged. Coping with the holiday hangover can not only help you get a jump on your January, but these strategies can last throughout the year. Let’s make next year one of your best yet!