It's no secret that the holiday period can be one of the most stressful times of the year. If you are shopping for a lot of gifts, food, and holiday décor, all the holiday spending can sometimes even make it feel more stressful than fun.
This time of year, the best plan of action is to establish a strict holiday budget and stick to it. However, overspending is still easy to do during the holidays, and afterward, you may need some help navigating the aftermath.
That's why we put together a list of the best ways to de-stress after all that holiday spending. We cover a mixture of ways to take control of your finances, as well as cost-conscious ways to relax and release all of that built-up holiday tension.
Financial ways to de-stress after overspending
One of the best ways to relieve the stress caused by holiday spending spiraling out of control is to stop, take a breath, and chart a path that allows you to feel more in control of your finances again.
1. Take control over your debt
A lot of people either get themselves into debt or neglect existing debts over the holiday period. The most common way people do this is by relying on their credit cards to make purchases and worry about the actual payments later.
Once the holidays are over, it may be time to take a frank look at your finances and make regaining control of your debt a priority. Take some time to develop a plan of action to tackle debt and set a date for meeting your goals. Having a plan will help you feel more in control, which will ease a bit of the stress.
2. Create a budget for the new year
Another way to take more control over your finances is to commit to creating a budget. There are a lot of different budgeting methods (like the 50/30/20 rule) and apps (like YNAB and Mint) to try out to help you. Whatever you choose, make sure it's a budget that is sustainable and realistic. Most people struggle to stick to a budget, so be sure to adapt any method according to your lifestyle and needs.
3. Try a no-spend monthly challenge
Some people have a no-spend goal for January where they completely cut out any non-essential purchases. If you decide to have a no-spend month, sit down before the 1st day of the month and write out a list of things you can and can't spend money on that month. For example, eliminate spending on dining out, fancy coffee breaks, or new clothes.
If you are just looking to make cutbacks, start with the obvious ones, such as cutting back on takeout by cooking at home instead. You can even reduce your grocery bill by considering a junk food-free or alcohol-free month to save some cash.
Free ways to de-stress and relax
Relieving holiday stress isn't all about finances, debt, and budgeting. It's also important for you to take some time for yourself to relax. Just make sure you're not spending a bunch of money to do so! Instead, here are some budget-friendly or free ways to ease into the new year.
1. Get active
Whether or not you exercise regularly, getting active is a great way to de-stress, get healthy, and clear your mind. Free ways to get active include going for walks, jogging, doing yoga at home, or following home exercise videos on YouTube. Instead of waiting for the new year to establish some healthier routines, get a head start, and get moving now.
2. Limit your time on social media
Taking a break from social media and being more present in your daily life is another simple tip that can help you to de-stress.
During the holiday season, there's a lot of content on social media from people showing off gifts, decorations, food, and so on. By taking a social media break, you will avoid the comparison trap, which can help you to resist the urge to spend more to keep up.
3. Do something relaxing
The holiday period is a fast-paced and stressful time of year for many, so make sure you're taking time to relax. How you relax will look different for everyone, but some ideas include trying meditation, breathing exercises, or home spa days. Or, try cracking open a good book you’ve been meaning to read.
Get the new year off to a stress-free start
If you end up overspending this holiday season, try not to stress too much and focus on what you can control instead.
If money is a big worry this time of year, trying some of the above financial ways to de-stress is a good start. With a plan of action, you will feel more in control and less guilty about overspending. For those who just need to take some time for themselves after the holiday festivities are over, try some relaxing activities or a new hobby, or spend some time exercising to relieve built-up holiday tension and get the new year off to a more stress-free start.