December holidays and the festive season can be a very tricky time. Here are five things to stop doing, and five things to start doing, as you prepare for this year’s festivities.
For many people, the festive season is the best time of the year; for many others, it is difficult for a variety of reasons. Society contributes to the pressure we feel by creating the expectation of family get-togethers that look like Christmas cards or television adverts. As we try to keep up with the expectations, the stress can be considerable, and too often we end up in financial distress as well.
If you want to do things differently, you have to give yourself time to get into a different mindset. Have a look at these 10 tips and start doing things differently now so that you can have a festive season this year that is kind to your mental and financial health.
5 things to STOP doing this festive season
1. Last-minute shopping. Fighting the crowds in shopping centres can be immensely stressful, and when you run out of time or can’t find the gifts you had in mind, it is easy to throw money at the problem. As a result, you can easily end up spending more than you budgeted, leaving you with debt you hadn’t planned for.
2. Running with the commercial mainstream. Instead of buying the must-have stuff that everyone is talking about on social media, dare to be different in the gifts you give, the food you serve and the activities on which you spend your time.
3. Buying into unrealistic expectations. Nobody’s life is a television advert or a Facebook post all the time, so stop expecting your holiday or festive season celebrations to be perfect. When you try to turn expectations into reality, it is easy to spend too much and too stress too much. Many fights and arguments also start when people feel disappointed.
4. Spending too much time with people you don’t usually socialise with. The holidays are for getting together with long-lost family members and friends, and when these people live far away, we end up spending days and even weeks in their company. This can be great fun, but also difficult when you run out of things to say and things to do. If you know form past experience that such long reunions don’t work, plan to do things differently this year.
5. Spending money you don’t have to keep up with the crowd. This is a big problem for many of us, and one that can only be solved by sticking to a personal budget and being honest about what you can and cannot afford. This year, stop thinking that you can solve December’s spending with debt solutions in January.
5 things to START doing this festive season
1. Plan ahead. Planning can sound boring, but it puts you in control of events, of your money and of your physical, mental and financial wellbeing. Agree with your partner who you plan to visit, how much your holiday budget is, and what you want and don’t want to do.
2. Know and protect your own limits. Don’t spend more than what you can afford to, don’t accept too many invitations, and take time out if you need to. Importantly, accept allow family and friends to help if you need support.
3. Keep the festivities simple. For example, a wholesome, delicious meal served in relaxed circumstances is better than a meal with all the trimmings served by a highly stressed-out, tired hostess.
4. Have conversations about traditions. Just because your family has been doing things a certain way for years, does not mean it had to continue. Similarly, nothing prevents you from starting new traditions that are more appropriate for the times we are in and the different financial goals different people want to achieve.
5. Maintain your healthy habits. Get enough sleep, keep exercising and don’t eat and drink too much. Yes, it sounds boring and not in the “festive spirit”, but your body will thank you and make the post-festive season period so much easier.
By simply stopping unhelpful habits and starting positive ones, you can get through this year’s festive season with your mental and financial health intact. Equally importantly, it will help you avoid financial distress in January.Go back