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The Aftermath: 3 Steps to Manage Post-Holiday Spending Stress


According to the Retail Council of Canada, 86% of us planned to spend as much or more on gifts and celebrating this past holiday season compared to last year. But did that plan take your budget into account? Stress and anxiety from overspending overshadow many people’s happy New Year. If you’re feeling the pinch, here are 3 steps to get you back to having a healthy relationship with money, and ease a rather shaky introduction to 2018.
 
STEP 1: YOUR MONEY
Check your finances. Do you know how much money you spend on food, entertainment, and lifestyle purchases each week? If you haven’t done it in a while, go back through bank statements/bills from the last few months of 2017 and write down how much you spent (and wasted) in each category. Make a monthly budget for 2018 and vow to stick to it. Begin new habits: have a checklist whenever you shop for anything; become a “conscious consumer” by asking, “Do I really need every item I brought to the till?” Record every purchase. Holding yourself accountable will help to curtail over-spending. If you have a partner that you share money with, work together to build your financial future by planning how to a) get out of debt and b) grow your money. Feel more empowered by taking action eg. call your bank to get advice or apply for a part-time job to make extra money.

STEP 2: YOUR MIND
Get the facts. Part of managing money is managing the stress around spending it. Know that feelings are not facts. It is negative thoughts that cause negative feelings, and they are usually hypothetical situations and stories you’re telling yourself that are not true. If you feel guilt, shame or remorse, challenge yourself to find out if your thoughts are accurate by getting all of the facts. Then let it go. As bad as your situation is, there's always someone in a worse predicament. And remember that everything in life is temporary, both situations you consider good and bad. If you’re a habitual worrier, become an expert at catching and recognizing your worries, vital to be able to manage them.
 
STEP 3: YOUR BODY
Reduce body tension. Learn to calm anxiety by slowing down your breathing with long, deep belly breaths. Practice self-care: get a massage or even a haircut (look for a discount salon or training school which offers budget services). Go to bed a half hour earlier to get the sleep you need that reduces stress hormones — and wake up 15 minutes earlier to avoid rushing, which can start the day’s cycle of negativity and bring your mind back to money worries. Drastically reduce coffee, sugar and alcohol to save money and your adrenal glands. Caffeine and sugar act as adrenal stimulants and can trigger anxiety attacks. Alcohol is a depressant. Instead of reaching for these, opt for a botanical relaxant like the medicinal mushroom called reishi, often prescribed to reduce depression, anxiety and insomnia. Exercise; it’s nature's uplifter. Besides clearing the mind, increasing endorphins and helping you sleep, it reduces anxiety. You don’t need an expensive gym membership; save by joining a recreation centre or just walking briskly outside for an hour.

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