Handling Holiday Stress

holiday-stress-fbThe holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Our jam-packed schedules are augmented with holiday get-togethers, family obligations, shopping, work events, children’s events, and concerts. Plus there are all the items we add to our to-do lists, such as baking, gift wrapping or making holiday greeting cards. With all of this extra doing, who isn’t stressed? So what can we do to handle holiday stress? Here are some ideas:

Look at the ‘shoulds’ on your holiday list: Maybe you feel like you should bake cookies, but you don’t really want to. How about letting that go? Ask yourself, what if I didn’t do this thing I think I should do? What’s the worst that could happen? If the consequences are minimal, perhaps you could leave it off your list. Consider saying ‘no’ to things that add to your stress level.

Resizing: If you think that you can’t take something off your list, how about reducing how much you do. For instance, if you really want to send holiday greeting cards, how about sending 10 instead of 50? Or if you are going to bake cookies, maybe you can bake two dozen instead of four?

Friends and Family: Most people say that spending time with friends and family is the most important part of the holidays. So how about doing that? Instead of buying another scarf for a friend, how about taking them out for a cup of coffee or tea? In our face-paced world, we don’t often have time for those who are most important to us. Spending time being together is more rewarding and reduces overall stress.

Ask for help: Perhaps there are things on your list that others could help with, such as wrapping presents, or decorating. Doing things together can add to the joy of the season by converting a stressful task into a bonding experience.

Slow down: The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can seem like fun, but it can also increase our stress levels. Finding time to relax, read, meditate, walk, journal, or listen to music can add peace to our lives if done at a leisurely pace instead of a hectic one.

Here are some other great resources for reducing stress during the holidays:

The Keys to a Happy Holiday by Margarita Tartakovsky

Three Things You Can do When You’re Alone on the Holidays by Sharon Martin

Home for the Holidays by R. Morgan Griffin

Tips for Parents on Managing Holiday Stress by the American Psychological Association

Wishing you and your family a low-stress holiday season.

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