The holidays are quickly approaching and will look different this year secondary to the pandemic. However, no matter what your financial situation, holidays can bring financial stress. Get on top of this stress, by giving yourself the best gift ever: Financial Boundaries.
Make a plan
Decide ahead of time, how, when, and where you will spend your money. Why not put together a list of everything you anticipate to spend including food, gifts, decorations, and their associated costs. A simple excel sheet is all that is needed. Doing this gives you a road map and will make you less likely to veer off track. If you are unsure what is reasonable, make a date with yourself, a friend, or your partner to outline our why during the holiday season. Mindfully reflect on what matters. Is it to serve? Is it to spend time with family and friends? Is it to practice minimalism? Is it a religious tradition? Also, it is important to think about others and how they could be impacted this holiday season.
Communicate your plan
Once you have a plan in place, it will be important to communicate it. If there is ever a year where communication is important, it is this year. You could even use the pandemic as a preface, "Considering everything going on this year, our plan/contribution will be ...". A lot of my work includes working with clients on boundaries. If you don't have boundaries, you may feel drained, exhausted, or overwhelmed. Having boundaries equals self-care, focus, truth, strength, and respect. Let's flesh this out, you are caring for yourself by identifying that the holidays can cause financial stress. You are focusing on identifying your values and communicating them ahead of time. Making a plan is a reflection of your financial truth and limitations. You are gaining strength by taking responsibility and communicating to others how and/or how much you will contribute. And, finally, you are earning respect from yourself and others by sticking to your plan.
Breath, connect, stay present, and most of all spread joy and cheer in this uncertain time. The holiday season goes quickly and sometimes we forget to care for ourselves because we get out of our routines. As financial stress isn't the only stress you may experience during the holiday season, remember to be good to yourself. Take 10-15 minutes daily to do a mindful activity. My favorite one is to wrap my arms around myself, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and hug myself.
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Mariah Hudler, MSW, MBA is a financial health consultant, coach, and speaker. She works with couples and entrepreneurs on making their money work for them.
Disclaimer: This blog is for education only. Please consult with a qualified professional when you have any questions about your personal financial, tax, or legal situation. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace professional advice.