Tips to Handle Holiday Stress
The holiday season often brings stress and depression – don’t let them ruin your holidays… Plan ahead and seek support! It is possible to reduce stress during the holidays by recognizing some common holiday triggers. These 10 helpful holiday coping tips were written by Mayo Clinic Staff.
Learn to recognize common holiday triggers, so you can disarm them before they lead to a meltdown:
- Relationships: Relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time, but tensions are often heightened during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify – especially if you’re thrust together for several days. On the other hand, facing the holidays without a loved one can be tough and leave you feeling lonely and sad.
- Finances: With the added expenses of gifts, travel, food and entertainment, the holidays can put a strain on your budget – and your peace of mind.
- Physical demands: Even die-hard holiday enthusiasts may find that the extra shopping and socializing can leave them wiped out. Being exhausted increases your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise and sleep – good antidotes for stress and fatigue – may take a back seat to chores and errands.
- Set aside differences: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.
- Stick to a budget: Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone’s name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.
- Plan ahead: Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
- Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional
WE AT COMMUNITY INSTITUTE FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY ARE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS, CALL US FOR EXTRA SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF, YOUR COUPLE, AND/OR YOUR FAMILY. 415-459-5999 X102