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As autumn peaks and fades it's easy to stress over the looming holiday season. For a variety of reasons, not everyone loves a calendar full of parties and family gatherings. This time of year is notable for financial pressure and rehashing old emotions that are better left alone. It feels like everyone needs something from us and there's no time or space to spend on ourselves. With that in mind, I put together a few practical ways to eliminate some stress. 

  1. 1
    Start Budgeting. Christmas arrives at the same time every year so there's no reason for the financial strain to come as a surprise. If money is tight then make small budget cuts now to set aside the gift savings you need. The earlier you make a list of the items you plan to buy the more likely you are to find those things on sale. Planning ahead will eliminate financial shock and help you get the best possible deal for the people on your list. 
  2. 2
    Set Boundaries. Whether it be parties, gifts or volunteering; everyone has expectations at the holidays. Decide ahead of time who you plan to buy for and what you are willing to spend your money and energy on. Make a list of the conflicts you won't enter into this year and don't budge on those boundaries. 
  3. 3
    Give Yourself Grace. Maybe this is your favorite time of year. Maybe its your least favorite. Either way choose to slow down and give yourself more grace for a couple of months. Note the things in your normal schedule that you can step back from or let slide. Find a way to unwind that refuels you in a unique way through the holiday season.   

Hollywood would have us believe that November and December are filled with magic and joy. Unfortunately it doesn't always feel that way. However, a little advanced planning can set you up for a more relaxation and fun. Get out your favorite notebook and start a list of the ways you can make this year your least stressful season yet!

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