Five Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Shopping

The holidays, no matter which ones you celebrate, are stressful. In addition to the ebb and flow of normal everyday life and its responsibilities, you also have to pile on the events, socializing, and traditions of the holidays — and if you’re in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, the stress and fatigue can quickly add up to a dangerous situation where your own needs fall by the wayside.

While there are a lot of ways to manage your holiday stress, as part of National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month, we’re going to focus on managing a specific and very common stressor during the season: navigating and managing holiday shopping.

Set Your Budget and Stick to It!

Make a budget of how much you want to spend on gifts and other expenses during the holiday season, and then stick to it. It’s basic financial advice, but it’s common because it works! If you’re not sure where to start, know that some financial experts recommend not spending more than 1% of your annual income on holiday spending — it’s not worth it to dip into your savings for holiday spending, and you don’t want financial stress as a potential trigger.

Happy man in addiction recovery shopping during the holiday season

You’re Not Santa — Don’t Try to Get Everything Done in One Night

Plan early! Set your budget and start saving ahead of time, then complete as much as you can in early December, November and even October to save yourself a last-minute crunch. This lets you avoid gifts going out of stock or delayed shipping times, and also keeps you ready for any exciting sales as they come up. You don’t have to be months ahead of the curve to get a comfortable lead on shopping!

Check Your List Twice

It’s not just a line in a song, it’s also great advice. You can avoid a lot of extra work by double-checking your shopping and commitments list: it may be possible to minimize trips or how many orders you place if it turns out you need items from the same places, and you’d be surprised how much time and stress you end up saving yourself in the long run.

You Don’t Need to Be Perfect

It’s possible you get someone a gift they don’t like, or worse, aren’t able to get ahold of a much-desired item for a loved one. While your gift’s recipient may be disappointed, or at least you’re concerned that they are, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a reflection on yourself as a person. You’re re-learning how to be the best loved one you can be, and any mistakes or bad luck with the shopping process are small compared to you showing that you gave it your all to give someone a happier holiday!

Father and son exchanging gifts for the holidays during recovery

Don’t Forget About Yourself

Ultimately, some stress is unavoidable during the holiday season. It’s important to take the time you need to rest and recover from stress and realize that, sometimes, that may mean taking the time to center yourself and work on you.

At Extra Mile Recovery, we understand this seasonal stress and provide a safe, supportive environment and helpful strategies so you can thrive in recovery. If you’re interested in how we can help you or a loved one, contact us today: there’s a lot we can do to have a healthier, happier holiday together!

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