It’s that time of year again!  The holidays are upon us. Decorations are being hung, gifts are being bought, holiday music fills the air.

For some, these festive signs can be soothing and a gentle push into the holiday spirit while shopping for the right gift and making sure all the spices and sides are checked off the grocery list. For others, it can be a stress-induced nuisance or a reminder of all the things that need to be completed before family and friends arrive. To combat holiday stress, it is good practice to get ahead of your planning. Here are a few tips to remain joyful while checking your lists twice:

Plan ahead: If you have not already started, begin your seasonal checklists. By creating a checklist whether for dinners, gifts or decor it is a good physical way to hold yourself accountable.

Create grouped checklists: Having a running checklist can add additional stress and anxiety to planning. Create separate checklists such as one for gifts, another for dinner and one for travel planning needs. Having lists by theme will help compartmentalize your mind when recounting what needs to be done rather than having a long intimidating list that seems to never end.

Add dates next to tasks: By adding dates or adding notes to tasks, it does not only hold you accountable but also aids in time management. Not everything needs to be accomplished overnight, as one thing can be checked off each day or week. It also eliminates the rush on Christmas Eve to go back out into the irritable busy crowd of shoppers for last-minute gifts.

Decorate at your own pace: If you’re one to decorate after Thanksgiving is over, you know how time consuming it is to switch over from the fall decor to the Christmas tree. Instead of waiting to get all of the boxes down or out of the garage on the day after Thanksgiving, try to place them in areas where you can get to them quickly so you can slowly put away the fall decor you no longer need (like that one Halloween decoration that you always forget to put away). You can also take your time decorating for Christmas by dedicating yourself to decorating one room at a time.

If nothing seems to alleviate your stress or it’s severely impacting your health, consider speaking with your provider or contacting UofL Health – Peace Hospital. Peace Hospital has an Assessment and Referral Center that offers a no-charge assessment. You can also contact the 24-hour crisis and information center line at 502-589-4313 or 800-221-0446.

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Lisa Prewitt

Lisa Prewitt, M.Ed., is the director of behavioral health outreach at UofL Health – Peace Hospital. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Louisville. Lisa has more than 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. She is also a licensed professional counseling associate and a certified Grief Recovery Method® specialist. Lisa has been with Peace Hospital since 2012.

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