Managing Holiday Stress

Published on 9 November 2023 at 18:45

This week I want to touch on the holidays and how stressful this time of year can get. It seems like once we hit Halloween it can be a whirlwind until the end of the year. There are holiday parties, gift giving, activities, family gatherings, and expectations galore. This is the time of year when time boundaries and self care should be a priority. I like to encourage "presence" over "presents". 

Take some time to think about what you would like the season to look like for you and your family. If you notice stress or any mental health symptoms take some time to slow down and regroup. Pay attention to how you are feeling and what you feel able to commit to. You are one person and there is only so much time and energy that you can offer with life's competing demands. 

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression- 

* Be realistic- the holidays do not need to be perfect and do not need to be the same as in the past, traditions and family dynamics can change and that is ok. 

*Set a budget and stick to it- see what you can afford and do not go beyond that, it is ok to be selective with gift giving, and you do not need to over extend yourself in order to have a memorable holiday season. 

*Access supports- if you do feel stressed reach out to supports, call a friend, attend a community event, reach out to a family member , or do something nice for someone as a gesture of support to others. 

*Be prepared- set aside time for what you need to do - such as shopping or baking, planning time for connecting with family and friends, making time to organize and plan your overall schedule. 

*Say No- overcommitting can leave you feeling depleted and resentful, know that it is ok to pass on an event or activity, or to cancel plans, if needed tell the person you will get back them and give yourself time to  consider if you have the time and energy. 

*Keep up with self care- continue your habits such as eating healthy, hydrating, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, the holidays are not a free for all to let all of your habits go by the wayside., consider not overindulging with food and alcohol. 

*Allow for rest- keep practicing mindfulness, take a walk, practice deep breathing, disconnect from technology, nap,  meditate, you have permission to rest and do what you need to do to mange. 

*Acknowledge you- you may feel emotional at times, there may be family issues that come up this time of year, there can be grief and loss, there may be family that you do not get along with, remember all of this is ok and you can acknowledge your feelings and honor what you need in those moments. 

*Practice gratitude- this is a great time to consider what you are grateful for, make a list of things you have instead of things that you want, and to slow down and practice some acts of kindness for yourself and others. 

The holidays are often a time when we focus on others, by sending cards, buying gifts, and cooking food, but during high stress times it is more important than ever to find time for you. If you know that the holidays are going to be stressful, plan accordingly and make sure you are scheduling some "me" time and carving out time for self-care.

Be Beyond Well, 


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