Quick Tips: Reducing Holiday Stress

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The holidays can be a joyful time offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family, but they can also be stressful. It is also critical that you release the idea of feeling guilt if there are some family members that you cannot share time with, as each year offers different opportunities and all family members must understand that we all can only be in one place at one time.

You may feel pressure to buy and give gifts and you are worried about money. There is an old saying “It the thought that counts.” Be kind to yourself and remember this. Take time to truly think about each person you are shopping for and find a truly sentimental trinket that will hold meaning for years, not just some item with a big price tag that will be forgotten by next year.

The holidays can also be hectic. There never seems to be enough time to get things done. Pace yourself. It is always easier to accomplish lots with less to think about…make a list and stick to that list.

Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you during the holidays then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress. This time of year opens many doors of emotion. There will be dinners, gatherings, parties that you will be invited to.

Seriously, sit down and decide which to accept and only go into environments that are comfortable for you. ie. If drinking alcohol is an issue, do not accept a night club party invitation by declining politely as everyone will accept that you are just busy with another family engagement that date.

Here are some great tips:

1. Give something personal.

You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.

2. Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.

Share the tasks. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Share your “to do” list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.

3. Learn to say no.

It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you do want to attend, family members that you are comfortable spending time with, buying gifts that you can afford and so much more.

4. Be realistic.

Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it’s a holiday, family problems don’t go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it’s okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.

5. Take breaks from group activities.

Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can. Meditate, or do some relaxation breathing. Go for a short walk.

6. Keep a regular sleep, meal, and exercise schedule.

Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.

7. Get support if you need it.

Holidays can sometimes trigger depression. They can be especially hard if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship. You may feel embarrassed to ask for help, or you may think that you’ll get over “the blues” on your own. But most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression.

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown.

With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays. Whatever you do during the holiday season, always remember to use selfcare as a guide for we can all only serve from a full cup. You may not be able to avoid stressful situations during the holidays but you can plan to respond to them in a healthy way.

Happy and Healthy Holidays!

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