We’re deep into the holiday season, which means you’ve already begun shopping for yourself and your loved ones or thinking of ways to approach doing so. With so many commercials, promotional ads, and marketing emails, one can quickly become overwhelmed with the idea of venturing out to the store to battle crowds for the perfect gift or surfing the web to scour deals online.
Shopping for the holidays can be anything but peaceful and restful, and more often stressful. So, how do you address that stress to enjoy shopping ultimately? First, having a transparent conversation with yourself is the most helpful to identify where the stress is stemming from in the first place. Are you concerned about your financial resources or getting the “perfect gift” for your loved ones? Either way, taking the time to answer for yourself why specific stressors are bubbling up for you is the first step to addressing and remedying unnecessary anxiety and stress around shopping. In addition to naming the cause of your stress, you can become proactive in solving it. For instance, if shopping in-store stresses you out because of the crowds and wait times, opt for online shopping instead.
Most of us also experience shopping stress when trying to find the ideal or “perfect” gift for our loved ones. While our intentions are good, labeling anything as “perfect” can be harmful and place unwanted pressure on ourselves during an already stressful time. Reframing our thought process regarding purchasing a “flawless” gift for family and friends can help you feel less stressed and more excited to buy a thoughtful gift. Additionally, identifying several backup gifts can ease your anxiety, too.
Additionally, making time for your self-care is equally important. We know the holidays can be a blissful time rooted in joyful community experiences and acts of kindness for others, but you must make yourself a priority. While you’re doing your holiday shopping, make sure you purchase several wish-list items for yourself. Even if you’re not into buying nice things, try to do several self-care activities that bring you joy; it could look like binge-watching your favorite television series, taking a nice bubble bath, reading your favorite book, or going outdoors for some fresh air. Taking time to practice gratitude is an excellent self-care technique that can help you reduce stress. Instead of focusing your energy on everything you must achieve and purchase before the holiday season ends, center yourself in gratitude and list what you’re grateful for, even if the holiday season is traditionally stressful or sad for you.
Also, mindfulness exercises, like meditation and breathing work, can effectively reduce the impact of stress from holiday shopping and help decrease burnout or fatigue.
Lastly, you can limit your holiday shopping by focusing on experiences for yourself or loved ones instead of worldly things. Given inflation, cost of living, and other stressors, you should challenge yourself to embrace non-materialistic holiday traditions to make this period more memorable and meaningful. Whether you take a family vacation or make gifts, try to work on fun bonding experiences for you and your loved ones instead of purchasing pricey gifts.
Whatever route you choose when navigating holiday shopping should enhance your joy and not diminish it. If you need more pointers on how to lower your stress levels, check out some below.
Other ways to combat stress around the holidays include:
Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a power walk with yourself or your dog.
Manage your diet to include nutritious foods.
Cut back on the alcohol. Hello, mocktails!
Rely on your community members to help you manage stress and bring you joy.
Consider seeking professional help from a therapist.