Money Worries During the Holidays? Ways to Cope
For some people, holidays can mean financial pressures when giving gifts, participating in events, or visiting loved ones. But there are simple ideas that can help ease your worries.
During the holidays, many U.S. residents feel compelled to spend. A 2020 study by the National Retail Federation revealed that people planned to spend almost $1,000 for holiday gifts and items. This doesn’t include the trips we book, the festive meals we buy, or the events we schedule during this time.
When it comes to finances, this time of the year can also produce anxiety. We might feel pressured to spend, especially if we have loved ones, colleagues, and friends expecting us to participate in certain festivities.
What are some ideas to ease money worries during the holidays?
Set a budget ahead of time
Setting a budget can help you limit how much you’ll spend for your holiday wants and needs. To do this, you can prioritize what you need versus what you want and determine your primary reasons for spending.
When choosing between booking a trip to see your family versus giving Christmas gifts to your coworkers, it’s helpful to assess your motivations for doing so. Booking a trip to see your family can mean time spent with those you love. Giving to colleagues because you believe that everyone else is doing so means that you are spending because of societal expectations.
By learning to budget and prioritize, you can maximize your finances and reduce worry during the holiday season.
Some people cope with holiday stress by drinking alcohol or using addictive substances. Although some believe that self-medicating in this way can relieve their anxieties, the long-term effects of these substances are more detrimental than their benefits.
Trying to forget money worries through drinking or taking drugs creates additional financial burdens. Using such substances can be expensive or cause you to miss work, and both can harm your finances. Ultimately, misusing substances can contribute to health problems and costly treatments.
If you’re self-medicating during the holidays or other times, consider seeking professional help and the assistance of support groups to help you recover.
Stay in the present
Our brains may want to jump to the next problem to solve or the next hurdle to jump. But the holiday season is the time to appreciate the present and enjoy the company of those we love. By staying in the present, we’re also practicing mindfulness, which can help us avoid future worries and intrusive thoughts from the past.
Some ways to focus on the present include:
- Engaging actively in conversations: Listen with intent and interest during holiday gatherings. Ask questions out of curiosity, and don’t just reply for the sake of responding.
- Enjoying the moment: Take note of the sights, sounds, and emotions of the holidays. Being mindful of what’s happening can distract you from anxious thoughts.
- Being grateful: Being grateful helps you become aware of your current blessings. This can allow you to focus on the present instead of past and future worries.
Worry less, enjoy more
Money worries can take a toll on your mental and physical health, but they can be less of a problem once you make a budget, stay in the present, practice meditation, and avoid the pitfalls of self-medication.
The holidays are times to connect with our loved ones and reflect on our blessings instead of our anxieties.
gobankingrates.com – Here’s How Much Americans Spend on Christmas
thebalance.com – Get Tips on Making and Sticking to a Holiday Budget
uclahealth.org – Guided Meditations
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Learn About Sunshine Behavioral Health
greatergood.berkeley.edu – Mindfulness Definition
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