So we’ve officially moved into the season between ‘fighting over products while shopping’ and ‘opening said products in one swift move’. I usually don’t go buy physical objects for this season, I tend to buy gifts in the form of experiences, however, I do understand that not everyone approaches this season the same way.
The holiday season tends to bring on another level of stress, with the year rounding out and the pressures from the holidays added to the pressures from work and family, it can be an overall anxiety driven few months. With these additional stresses, I wanted to post some tips to help everyone to remind them to take care of themselves first and foremost. and perhaps to help keep the home front a little more simplified.
Life will always get more chaotic and complicated, but as long as we recognize it, we can counter it with with a well thought out defense. I practice a lot of these tips, so even if you can try just one tip and simplify your life, you might be pleasantly surprised. So here it goes, I hope you guys enjoy it!
For Your Mental Health:
- Stop multitasking – Give your attention and focus to one thing at a time to complete a long list of to-do items.
- Stop driving aggressively – Take the steps to stop aggressive driving habits by getting enough sleep, planning ahead and using etiquette and kindness to other drivers. Remember that if children are in the car, they learn from watching you.
- Stop going crazy for holidays – Stop stressing to bake/cook a huge holiday meal. If you host during the holidays, ask everyone to bring a dish for a potluck style dinner and there will be less work for you. Stop over-shopping for the holidays. Try the 4-gift rule for Christmas: something you want, something you need, something to play with, something to read.
- Accept that change is in order – Acceptance is the first step to changing bad habits. Once you have accepted that you need to change your life, take the next step toward a simplified life.
- Program your mobile photos/videos to auto-upload to a cloud account – Never worry about uploading photos again – Try Google, Amazon, Picasa, YouTube.
- Use a combined social media app (Instagram)– Try Hootsuite – it combines your social media accounts and shares a post on all sites at the same time.
For Your Home:
- Create a command center in your home – a command center is the ultimate hub to keep your family organized. For tips to create your own, see this post. My favorite command center item is this dry erase calendar.
- Create a cleaning routine and schedule it on your calendar – Schedule laundry day’s, trash days, housecleaning days, etc.
- Downsize – Get rid of items you don’t need or move into a smaller home.
- Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions – Read articles for free online instead.
- Stop buying trending clothes – Purchase classic, high-quality items in neutral colors and you will rarely need to update your wardrobe.
- Eat simple meals – Less thinking means faster, easier meals. Keep it simple with simple ingredients and meals that are fail-proof. Be sure to check out our post Clean Eating for Less Than $70 a Week for a family of 4 (Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks included with a shopping list!).
- Make freezer meals – Double your dinner recipe and freeze the rest for later. If you do this every night, then you will have 7 additional dinners in the freezer for next month. Here are 365 days of freezer meals for more ideas.
- Use your leftovers – Pack them for lunch the next day or use them to make another meal – many leftovers can easily be made into a soup.
- Use simple recipe ingredients – Stop buying spices/ingredients for one meal. Purchase basic spices and ingredients to minimize items in your pantry.
- Make one-pot meals – Reduce clean up by making an entire meal in one pot. Here are 120 one pot meals for some ideas.
- Unsubscribe from junk emails – Try unroll.me for bulk removal. I did this and was able to unsubscribe from 110 subscriptions in just a few minutes!
- Cancel cable – Try on-demand options like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Video.
- Print as little as possible – Read documents, books and recipes online. Save these items online or as a document to your computer. Less paper lying around means less to organize later.
For Your Organization:
- Consider signing up for an Elfster account or create an Amazon Wish List feature or giving Groupon experience gifts
- Keep reusable bags in your car – These bags always come in handy for stores that give you money back for bringing your own bag (like Target) or those that charge for their plastic bags (like Aldi).
- Telecommute, carpool, bike, jog or walk to work instead of driving – take the stress of commuting with one of these options.
- Stop using credit cards and pay cash for everything – Get rid of the stress of paying interest for that T-shirt. Freeze your credit cards, pay them off and start using cash only – unless you are able to pay off credit cards in full every month.
- If you need a credit card, consider one with rewards benefits – If you absolutely need a credit card, choose one with big rewards. Pay the balance in full every month to reap the full reward benefits – otherwise the reward is not beneficial if you are paying interest.
- Upload/Download DVDs/digital copies to the cloud – Try Vudo/Ultraviolet to upload DVDs, digital copies to access movies on-the-go. Download/purchase movies online and store them in your cloud account, try Amazon Video.
- Share cloud files with family – Share your budget spreadsheet or contact list with your spouse.
- Write canned emails – Try the canned email feature in Gmail and save emails that you regularly send out with the same verbiage.