How to take the financial stress out of holidays

Even if you decline to brave the crowds on Black Friday, and ignore the hundreds of marketing emails on Cyber Monday, the holiday shopping season is still hard to avoid. Many are plagued not just by the stress of finding the perfect gifts for their loved ones, but also by financing all the merriment.

This holiday season, explore how you can avoid some of the financial stress for once.

Combating the Financial Stress of the Holidays

While everyone’s financial situation is different, methods of managing money around the holidays are applicable to everyone.

To keep the stress at bay, try these tips from Talkspace therapist Amy Cirbus, PhD, LMHC:

  • Make a budget and stick to it. Focus on the thoughtfulness and the act of giving, rather than on a specific dollar amount. Make sure you’re not compromising your financial security to meet someone else’s expectations (or your own).
  • Plan in advance. Avoid waiting until the last minute to make purchases, as that can lead to big increases in stress and anxiety! The crowds, the traffic, the lines — no reason to subject yourself to that mess. If you can, start planning and purchasing now.
  • Get creative. Redefine what it means to give a gift. Gifts don’t have to only be monetary. You can give someone the gift of time or you can volunteer your time to their favorite charity. Get creative with gifts if you can (maybe for your cousin it’s a coupon book for child care or for the grandparents a special photo album). It’s okay to be open and honest with friends and family and discuss non-monetary ways to show your love and appreciation for each other.

Avoiding Holiday Burnout

Burnout can occur in many forms, financial and otherwise, especially during the busy holiday season. If you’re having trouble concentrating, or feeling exhausted, fatigued, or feeling irritable, you may be suffering from burnout. While there are many tips to combat burnout — including setting boundaries and learning to say no — the chaos of the holidays isn’t always easy to step away from.

To help you stay fresh and rejuvenated, Cirbus provides three easy ways to avoid holiday burnout.

Set your limits

Set financial limits on what you’re going to do for the holidays-ahead of time. Give yourself permission to say no to as much as you need to. Recognize you can’t do it all. Maintaining your contented holiday feelings is more important than checking the boxes of a bunch of holiday cliches.

Keep your priorities straight

Connect to your values and remember why holidays matter to you. It’s not about who gets what — try to prioritize your to-do list based on what is most important to you and your loved ones, and if you have the time, then focus on helping others get things done.

Reframe the holidays

Instead of focusing on the commercial and material aspects of the holidays, which contribute to the feeling of hustle and bustle — try to focus on the true spirit of the holidays: being together. Make your own traditions, maybe without gifts at all. Really try to make that time together valuable and remember to set aside some time for yourself as well. Self-care is very important around the holidays when schedules get busier and obligations seem overwhelming.

While the holidays are a time for giving to others, it’s important to take care of Y.O.U., too. If you find yourself having a hard time dealing with burnout, or other stress, talking to a licensed therapist can be extremely beneficial. We could all use a little support to feel healthier and happier every day, if you’re ready to talk to a therapist, get matched today.

This article originally appeared on Talkspace.