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8 Frugal Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate:

photo credit: Mikael Miettinen

The holidays take feeling stressed out to a whole new level.

There are gifts to buy and school programs to watch and Christmas cards to write.  There are cookies to bake and holiday parties to attend.

Stressful times of year can wreak havoc on your finances. Being stressed makes it easy to forget to shop intentionally.

Fortunately, there are frugal ways you can soothe your soul during this busy time of year.

1. Make lists.

One of the simplest ways to get a grip on your schedule is to simply map out everything you have to do and make a plan. Written lists help you figure out what needs to get done (and when), what tasks you can ask family members to complete, and what doesn’t really need to get done at all.

The free Life Your Way Christmas planner is an excellent way to get organized.

2. Get enough sleep.

Set a timer to remind yourself to turn off the television or computer at a certain time each evening.  Get at least 8 hours of sleep.  If you’re still feeling sleep deprived, squeeze in a quick cat nap.  Getting enough sleep will give you the energy you need to tackle your to-do lists.

3. Exercise.

Take a brisk walk, find an exercise video at your library, or play a game with your kids outside.  Doing something physical can help lift your spirits and improve your health.

4. Unplug.

Shut down your computer and turn off your phone.  Don’t check your e-mail or Facebook. Don’t check your work voice mail.  Just shut everything off and enjoy the peace and quiet for a day.  Being available to everyone and every little thing every second of the day can take its toll.  Unplug and and relax without all the distractions.

5. Make a tradition.

Build a moment of relaxation into the busy holiday season by creating a new family tradition like watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” or telling stories around the fireplace.

6. Pamper yourself.

Take a long bubble bath, or stay an extra 10 minutes in the shower.  Pamper your skin with a great smelling lotion or maybe paint your nails.  Turn off all the lights except for your Christmas tree, turn on some soft music, and enjoy relaxing on the couch.

7. Make it fun.

Make a game out of getting your tasks done.  Or put on some music and dance and sing your heart out as you clean the house.  Lighten up your mood and the work load will seem lighter too.

8. Make a connection.

Meet a friend for a cup of coffee or visit a relative you haven’t seen in awhile.  Share some laughs with friends and family and you just may come home with a new perspective on your situation.

Sometimes we just need to “reset”, to take some time out of our busy lives and realize that as long as we’re doing the best we can, that’s good enough.  Coming to that realization isn’t easy, but it doesn’t cost a thing.

What are some frugal ways you reduce stress during the holidays?

Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas.  She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 6-year-old and twin 4-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.