Stress and anxiety during the holiday season is sometimes unavoidable. There’s more going on, more people around, and the pressure to please everyone is increased. Holidays may make you feel out of control and subject to the mercy of relatives and traditions. While holiday stress is unavoidable, there are tips and tricks that can help reduce the impact, so that you can make it through the holidays – or even enjoy them!
Holidays are hard enough without trying to make everything absolutely perfect. Life happens and if plans fall through or traditions have to be changed just roll with it. Remember, this is one point in time throughout a whole long big year. Stay off social media – it’s easy to feel like a failure when you’re comparing yourself to others. Don’t judge your holiday based on what you see on Pinterest and Instagram. Most of those amazing looking pictures and meals are done by professionals or done for the sole purpose of taking those pictures. You’re a real person with a real life so cut yourself some slack and enjoy the moment rather than fret over the little things.
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean problems magically disappear. If you’re feeling sadness, anger, stress and anxiety, know that it is okay to feel those feelings. Forcing yourself to act as jolly and cheerful as Santa Clause isn’t going to help. If you have to be in the thick of family activities, take a few moments to yourself and just let yourself feel.
A lack of planning can be a huge cause of stress during the holidays. There’s the never ending demands about social engagements, gifts and food. Before this flurry of activity hits, take some time to plan out a schedule for shopping, baking, cooking etc. Plan menus and make shopping lists ahead of time. Start shopping for gifts now instead of leaving it until the last minute. The gift of time is one of the greatest things you can give yourself to avoid stress this holiday season.
The holidays are so focused around giving and sharing it’s easy to forget to take a moment for yourself. A few moments alone to catch your breath and calm your mind can be amazingly refreshing, and give you the boost you need to get through it all. Just 15 minutes of alone time a day during the holiday rush will do you wonders. Try taking an extra long shower or read a few chapters of a new book.
Stress over money can reach an all time high during the holidays. Between food, gifts and trips, the expenditures can seem never ending. Setting a budget ahead of time can help manage spending and reduce stress. There’s also countless ways you can save money. Give homemade gifts or baked goods instead of pricey presents. Suggest a secret Santa gift exchange instead of having everyone purchase gifts for every person. Remember, it’s about presence, not presents.
If the stress becomes too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to find help if you need it. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider if you feel persistent sadness, stress and anxiety. Going to a psychiatrist might not seem like a very holiday thing to do, but talking to someone about how you feel can be a huge relief. Think of them as the Santas of mental health, bringing you the gift of peace and stress relief.