It's that time of year again! America's Independence Day. It's time take a few days off work, meet up with old friends, pull out the BBQ and just relax. Whether you have plans already or are still in the midst of figuring out how you want to spend your day, we hope it's going to be a good one. However, we know- like any other Holiday- the fourth of July can also be extremely stressful. There's planning to be done, food to be prepared, journies to make, money to spend, and children to look after. Let's face it: There's a lot to do. This year, though, we're going to make your holiday a bit less stressful. In fact, we're trying to make it the least stressful Fourth of July you've ever had. With a few tricks and tips, everyone can enjoy the fourth, including you. Read below to find out 16 ways to make this the best fourth of July you've ever had.
16 Don't Break The Bank
Many times, when Holidays roll around, we tend to think "big." We want to make sure we have enough food at our homes if we're hosting a party, or we want to make sure we bring a nice gift if we're going somewhere, and we always think it's okay to "splurge" on things we wouldn't normally spend money on. And while it's completely all right to treat yourself, it's important to ensure that treating yourself doesn't stress you out. After all, is it really a "treat" if it does more harm than good? This Fourth, set a budget for yourself. Say you want to spend forty dollars total on the fourth. Think about all the plans you have - like seeing fireworks, going to a friend's home, etc. Then, try and account for expenses that come up- like admission fees or food and drinks. After, do your best to cut costs in any way you can. For example, you may want to carpool with someone who lives near you and share the parking fees, or maybe you'll bring your own food and drink to the firework show.
15 Rid Yourself Of Some Responsibility
If you're someone who likes to host parties at your home, that's great! However, that means all of the responsibility falls on you to take care of everyone. Instead of going to the grocery store and spending a crazy amount of money (and time) buying food and drinks, ask your friends to bring one thing each by turning your BBQ into a potluck. Or, if you can afford it, buy pre-made food at the grocery store or a deli so that you don't have to do the cooking yourself. A lot of times, we feel as though if we're hosting, we should do all of the work- but that's really not the case. It's completely acceptable to ask your friends and family members to pitch in. Everyone understands that life gets busy. In fact, your friends and family members would probably be happy to help. All you have to do is ask!
14 Ask For Back-Up
So, this year, you're going out for the Fourth. However, you're extremely stressed about it. Why? Well, maybe you have children you need to look after and you're worried they won't have fun at the "adult" party you're going to. Or maybe, you have pets you're worried about leaving at home because they get spooked by fireworks. This year, it's time to call in back-up. By back-up, we mean anyone who can help you look after some of your responsibilities. If you're worried about your children not having fun, perhaps you could see if their babysitter is free to look after them while you go out. If he/she can't, maybe you have a family member without plans that'd be happy to help. As far as your pets go, see if there's a local kennel that has some space open for the pups or ask one of your neighbors if they're able to check in on your pups from time to time. Do whatever you need to do to help relieve any stress or anxiety you might feel so that you're able to enjoy your time away from home.
13 Kids First, Adults After
It's true. In general, the Fourth of July tends to be a family celebration. We want our children and all of our family members to get together and experience all the festivities that come along with the holiday. On the other hand, though, we'd really like to let loose with some of our friends and it can be difficult to juggle both. Well, guess what? You can do it. How? Planning ahead. Set aside time during the day for your children, your parents and other family members. Go to a parade and do some fireworks. Then, when the sun goes down (and after they're tired out from being in the sun all day), hang out with your adult friends. If your parents are okay with it, leave your children at their home or ask if they'll stay over at your house and watch your kids. Chances are, they won't have plans and would be happy to spend some quality time with their grandchildren.
12 Have A Start And End Time
You're having your friends over at your home for a BBQ. You love having company over but because you have such a busy schedule, you don't get to do it as much as you'd like. This is why, whenever you do have your friends over, they tend to stay for way too long. And when we say "way too long," we mean they stay all night. Of course, in the scheme of things, you don't mind. You have a great time with them. However, you know that you have to get up to work on Tuesday and you don't want to be exhausted at work but you hate feeling like you're "kicking people out." Well, this year, in order to avoid both feeling rude and having people stay all night, set a start and end time. It can be as simple as sending out a group text that says, "Excited to see everyone at my place on the fourth. Just a reminder it's a BBQ from three until nine." Remember, it's your home, you make the rules.
11 Make It An Easy Clean-Up
As we stated earlier, you love having people at your house but sometimes, you hate the work that comes along with it. Because people are drinking, they get messy and it seems as though your house is always trashed after the party's over. This year, it's time to change that by cleaning as you go and making the mess an easy one to dissolve. After you BBQ, take some time to clean up the grill. Use paper plates and silverware to serve food instead of glass that you have to hand wash or dish wash. If you're serving drinks, use plastic cups and recycle them. Set trashcans around your home or your outdoor space to encourage your guests to throw away their own trash. If you see an empty plate as you're mingling with friends and family, pitch it. Chances are if your guests see that you're trying to keep your home clean, they're going to help you do the same.
10 Get Out Of The House
We know, we spent the last couple of tips telling you ways to make your Independence Day more enjoyable inside the house. However, sometimes getting out of your home is a lot less stressful and therefore, more fun. If you don't have any plans yet and were planning on inviting people over last minute, think twice. Instead, you could find a cool bar or a park that's having a firework show to meet people at. This way, you won't have to do any prep before the fact or any cleaning after the fact. The only thing you'll have to do is get yourself there and enjoy yourself. Also, chances are, if you don't offer to have a BBQ at your place, someone else will offer to have one at theirs. Don't feel that you need to have people over to have a good time. Remember that no matter where you are if you're with your loved ones, you'll have a great day.
9 Give Yourself A Break
You were invited to your neighbor's BBQ. Your children were invited to a friend's party. Your husband wants to see his friends. You feel obligated to show up to your company's event. Your mother wants to take your kids to a parade. Your sister wants you to make an appearance at her party. You have a lot of plans and only one day to do it all. Just thinking about what you have to do on the Fourth is stressing you out. Well, guess what? You might not be able to do it all and you might even have to disappoint someone temporarily. However, there's only one of you. It'd be impossible to make everyone happy. Give yourself a break. Decide what you'd like to do most and do that. If you end up having time to do other things, that's great, do them. If you don't, don't worry about it. It's better to simply enjoy one thing than to stress about doing everything.
8 Get Your Work Done Now
This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Monday. While it's great that you get a day off of work, that also means you'll most likely have to go to work the next day. And, let's be honest: You'll probably be really tired on Tuesday. The Fourth is a day of celebration, not a day to stress out about all the stuff you have to do in the week that follows. So, how do you combat that? Well, simply by planning ahead. Take some time over the weekend or even on the morning of the fourth, to get your work for the following week completed. If you know you have a report due on Wednesday, start working on it now. Get whatever you can do out of the way so that you can better enjoy yourself if you're out at friends or if you're having people over at your house. Don't let the pressure of your workplace haunt you on your day off.
7 Say No
So, you've had a really, really busy last couple of weeks or maybe you've had a really busy year so far. The only thing you want to do on your day off is relax or catch up on errands that you haven't had time to complete. However, you feel pressure to drive an hour away to a friend's BBQ because you hate saying "no" to people. The thought of driving in Holiday traffic is stressing you out already and you really aren't looking forward to forcing yourself to do it. Well, we've got news for you: It's okay to say no. Your friends will understand. Ask yourself what you really want to do and be honest. Chances are, if you go to the party that you don't really even want to go to, you won't have fun anyway. It's completely acceptable to enjoy your holiday just relaxing at home. After all, it's your day off. You're allowed to spend it how you want to spend it.
6 Be Smart About Drinking
With the Fourth of July comes a lot of drinking. For some reason, it seems as though drinking and Independence Day go hand in hand. However, they don't have to. If you're stressed out about having to worry about having a designated driver, be one. Just because other people drink doesn't mean that you have to too. Let go of the pressure. You can still have a great time and enjoy all of the festivities while being sober. Or, if you have a friend who's going to the same party as you but doesn't like drinking, ask them if they'll give you a ride. If they can't and you'd still like to drink, take a cab so you don't have to worry about leaving your car somewhere or sobering up to drive home. If you can't take a cab, stay local so that you can walk from place to place. Make safety a priority so that you don't have to stress about "what could happen" if you don't.
5 Have Activities Planned
If you're hosting a huge BBQ at your house and are worried about people not having enough to do, plan ahead. Go to your local Target or Home Depot and buy games like corn hole or badminton. If you're having children at your home, buy a slip and slide or a little blow-up pool. Make sure you have enough activities so that no one gets bored and/or so you won't have to provide all of the entertainment yourself. This way, you can enjoy your time just as much as they do. If you're going to someone's home and bringing your children, ask the host if it's all right if your child brings a friend so that your child won't constantly be relying on you for something to do. If they don't have a friend that can accompany them, bring a game or activity that they like so they can stay occupied while you socialize.
4 Take The Easy Route
As we stated earlier, if you're someone who's been stressed and just needs a day off, take advantage of having one. Don't feel pressured to "go all out" just because it's the fourth of July. If you don't want to drag your whole family to a parade and stand in the hot sun for hours, watch the parade from your living room while you relax. If you don't want to go see fireworks, do some small fireworks in your driveway. Just because everyone else is partying or having a crazy day doesn't mean you have to. Chances are, if you force yourself or your family members to go and do these things, they won't have fun anyway. Memories are made when you're with them doing whatever you want to do. Remember, you can have fun with the people you love even when you're just sitting around doing nothing.
3 Forget All Plans
Sometimes, the most stressful part of holiday plans are simply making the plans. This year let that all go. If you don't have plans yet and you're worried you're going to spend your day doing nothing, change your mindset. Get rid of the pressure by telling yourself, "If something comes my way, I'll do it if I want to. If nothing comes my way, that's fine too." This way, you know that you'll be happy any way that you spend your Fourth. Nothing good comes from worrying about what you should or shouldn't do. However, a lot of good comes from letting things happen naturally. There is no rule book that states how everyone should spend their Fourth, therefore, if you spend it non-traditionally, it's completely fine. Even if you wind up not having plans, you can still enjoy the day on your own. After all, it's a day off and that in itself is a nice little gift.
2 Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
So, maybe you're someone who's always wanted to go all out on the Fourth of July but never got the opportunity. Well, this year, it's time to get out of your comfort zone. If you don't have plans yet, call up your friends or colleagues and see what's going on. Chances are, someone will invite you to a BBQ or get together. If you were invited to a party but you're a little hesitant to go because it's far away and you're scared you won't know anyone, force yourself to go. The only way you'll ever get out of your comfort zone is if you push yourself. And we've got news for you: No one can do that for you but yourself. What's the worst that can happen? If you don't have fun, at least you tried and that in itself is a step in the right direction.
1 Remember What The Day Is About
For some reason, we all fall into the habit of getting so wrapped up in holiday plans and parties, that we forget what the holiday is actually about. This year, make a point to remember why we're celebrating. If you don't know or if you've forgotten thanks to the stress around holidays, we're here to remind you. Independence Day is celebrated to remember the commemoration of the Declaration of Independence. It's the day that America declared itself as a new nation allowing us to have freedom from the British Empire. It's a day to be spent around our loved ones, a day to be spent celebrating our freedom and being able to live the way we live, not a day about BBQ's or parades. Whenever you're feeling stressed on the Fourth, take a deep breath and remind yourself that there's a reason behind the celebrations. After all, if it wasn't for this day in 1776, we might not even be here.