Who’s ready for the holidays? On the surface, you might reply with excitement about gifts, parties, and traditions. Scratch a little deeper and you’re likely to find some stress. There might even be some angst and dread waiting to emerge. As with most everything in life, when it comes to the holidays, more than one thing can be true simultaneously. You can be excited and stressed at the same time.
End-of-the-year stressors can involve an extensive range of factors (see the list below for a sampling). Regardless, you can find the balance you need. It begins by planning in advance and being as prepared as possible.
What Can Cause Holiday Stress?
- Financial Issues: You might be traveling to see family or this could be the year you’re expected to host. Then, of course, there’s all the gift-giving.
- Family Drama: You may be related to them but that doesn’t automatically mean you get along.
- The Number of People in Your Life: This could mean too many or too few. Either way, this time of year is when it hits home.
- Time Management: The math doesn’t work. You have a limited amount of time to accomplish what feels like an unlimited number of goals.
- Too much: Spending, eating, drinking, partying, and more — it’s a season of excess.
2 Big Ways To Deal With Stress During The Holiday Season
Say Goodbye to Perfectionism
A giant step toward easing holiday-related stress is to be realistic. Don’t aim to make everyone happy, buy all the ideal gifts, and attend every party. A healthier goal is to enjoy the people in your life. Here are a few tips for making that happen:
- Make a Plan: It’s inevitable that some plans will overlap. So, get out your calendar and sketch out a schedule you can live with. While you’re at it, create a holiday budget. What can you comfortably afford when it comes to gift-giving and other expenses?
- Practice Saying No: Even if you were foolish enough to try, you cannot make everyone happy. Thus, make choices that prioritize the people who mean the most to you — and that includes yourself!
- Sometimes, Silence is Best: When that opinionated uncle goes into his act, it is not your job to set the record straight. Keep the peace and be comfortable walking away without getting involved.
Most likely, you will be more extended during this time of year. Hence, you must take active steps to create a counterbalance, e.g.
- Stay on Track: The holiday season is not an excuse to slip out of your healthy sleeping, eating, and exercise routines. Be merry without the eating and drinking part. You are under no obligation to conform to unhealthy expectations.
- Get Outdoors: Winter weather can be harsh but grab every opportunity you can to get some sunlight and fresh air. Studies show that this choice is a proven path toward calming nerves, feeling more focused, and experiencing enhanced mental energy.
- Relaxation Techniques: Indoors or outdoors, your mind and body will thank you for staying mindful. Center yourself in the present moment by meditating, doing breathing exercises, listening to mellow music, or indulging in aromatherapy.
Talk About What You’re Feeling
Maybe this is an annual problem or maybe this year just feels extra difficult. Whatever the cause, if the holiday season is taking you to a bad mental place, you’re not alone. Connecting with a therapist is a time-proven choice in situations like this. Your weekly anxiety or depression therapy sessions can provide you an outlet and a new perspective. I invite you to reach out to talk soon so you can reclaim your joy at this time of year.