Holiday season is once again nearly upon us and though it is meant to be a joyful time of year with celebrations and time with family and friends, it can also be one of the most stressful times of year for a lot of people. The holidays bring with them a unique set of demands; parties, gift buying, entertaining, cleaning and cooking just to name a few. Often there are family and financial tensions present that can leave many people struggling to cope. Here are 5 ways you can deal with or beat holiday stress this season.
- Keep up healthy habitsThere are many treats around us at this time of year and it can be tempting to over-indulge. However, if you give in to temptation you are likely to end up feeling guilty about it later on. Equally, if you slack off on your exercise routine it can lead to you feeling worse. Plan to keep up the exercise, even if it means going for a walk earlier in the morning. Get in the habit of eating a healthy snack before any parties so you will be less likely to over-indulge. Sleep is another healthy habit that is best kept up! Try to maintain a healthy balance in between all the extra activities.
- Acknowledge your feelingsAs published by the Mayo Clinic, when the holiday season is at its peak it can be tough to stop and re-group. If you are missing a loved one that has passed on or if you can’t be with loved ones for the holiday, it is normal to feel sadness or grief. The Mayo Clinic advises that you take the time to cry if you need it and express your feelings. You can’t be forced to be happy just because it is a holiday.
- Stick to a budgetOne of the biggest stresses for many people is financial pressure due to the holiday season. Have your budget and stick to it – this means actually writing down lists and costs and sticking to the list at the store so you are not tempted to stray. Look for ways within your family to keep costs down; for example, giving homemade gifts or setting up a ‘Secret Santa’ where everyone buys only one gift for one other person.
- Find a way to set aside differencesFamily stresses are common at this time of year, particularly where there have been ongoing feuds, family members haven’t lived up to the expectations of others or there is pressure to do things ‘how we’ve always done it’. Set aside grievances to discuss at a more appropriate time, nothing creates that awkward silence at the dinner table quite like an inappropriately timed outburst at a family member! Find ways to compromise on ‘tradition’ or try out some new ones. Particularly as kids grow up and new partners are introduced into the family mix, or if there are relationship break-ups and blended family situations, insisting on sticking to how things have always been done puts pressure and stress on others. It all comes down to being realistic, don’t pin too many expectations on the holiday and allow time simply to relax and go with the flow.
- Learn to say ‘no’The holiday season is often a hectic time rushing from this party to that event, but all of that rushing around can lead to more feelings of pressure and stress. Learn to politely decline invitations where they are going to lead to your calendar being over-booked. Attend holiday events at your leisure and avoid rushing.
These are just a few examples of what you can do to reduce holiday stress. What do you do?