9 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

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We are in the throes of another hectic holiday season! The holidays are an interesting time, aren’t they? This can be a time of joy, excitement, and anticipation. It can also can be a time of great stress.

Sometimes, holiday get togethers are overwhelming, and some family gatherings may dredge up unresolved issues and stir up conflict.  The holidays can cause financial stress, as the costs of gifts and travel can add up quickly. Throw in the risk of contracting Covid-19, the flu, or RSV, and this holiday season just got even more stressful.

While we can’t change or control other people and external circumstances, there are some ways we can reduce holiday stress:

  1. Take breaks as needed. Sometimes, a little family can go a long way. Family get-togethers can be wonderful, but they can also wear you out.  There’s no shame in taking a break and going for a walk, heading to the store, or finding a quiet place in the house to regroup, as needed. 
  2. Get some sun. The days are shorter in the northern hemisphere during the winter months, and some people are more sensitive to the lack of sunlight. Sit by a window with good sun exposure, bundle up and head outside for a brisk walk on a sunny day, or use a therapeutic lamp that mimics sunlight. 
  3. Eat well. With all the cookies, pies, candy, and other treats so prevalent this time of year, it’s important to find a dietary balance that is right for you.  Enjoy the holiday goodies, while staying hydrated and eating food that nourishes you.
  4. Make the choice to be happy. Look for, and appreciate, the joyful moments of this season, and choose to enjoy this time of the year as much as you can.  
  5. Expect some chaos. The holidays tend to be chaotic, thanks to inclement weather, traffic, traveling, crowds, and more events and activities.  Accept that some things will not go as planned and decide to enjoy the holidays anyway. Things may even turn out better than expected!
  6. Avoid overscheduling.  Doing too much can create stress, regardless of the time of year.
    Plan to see the people that are most important to you and only go to the parties and events that you really want to attend.  Strive for quality instead of quantity, and give yourself days off, too.
  7. Be grateful. It’s easier to relax and enjoy yourself when you feel grateful. You worry less about the mishaps, inconveniences, and disagreements when you focus on gratitude.
  8. Stay within your budget. The holidays are stressful enough without creating more stress by overspending. Avoid the trap of believing that you have to spend a lot of money to make someone happy. Make a budget and stick to it!
  9. Plan a day of rest. Plan days off during the holidays, if possible. Consider giving yourself a day off before and after big get-togethers, as you may need it. Rest is essential for your body and mind.

Enjoy the holidays, and do what you can to minimize the amount of stress involved. With careful planning and a little optimism, you can have a great holiday season this year and end the year feeling refreshed, instead of frazzled.  Happy holidays!

That’s another story . . .

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