5 Tips For Less Stress This Holiday Season
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. For some people, the holiday season is filled with joy and happy excitement. For others, this season is a time of stress and a trigger for some not-so-jolly feelings. Whether you experience some normal stress related to the hustle and bustle of the season or some more serious anxiety and depression, we’re hoping these tips will help you experience a bit more peace and a little less stress this holiday season.
1 – Be realistic. We often have these ideal, picture-perfect expectations for the holidays. We want everything to be perfect, but there is no ideal holiday. If you have unrealistic expectations, you’ll spend the entire season feeling disappointed. Instead, be realistic. The cookies might burn; the strand of Christmas lights might not work; the turkey might take too long to thaw; Uncle Billy might start an argument about politics. Life is unpredictable. Accept that everything won’t go as planned, and you can’t control every detail. If you keep your expectations reasonable, you’ll enjoy the holiday season more.
2 – Focus on today, not yesterday. Something about being home surrounded by family can make us suddenly turn into our ten-year-old selves. Old hurts can resurface. We find ourselves arguing over a game of Boggle or whose turn it is to wash the dishes. Take some deep breaths and try to act like your best adult self, then treat siblings and cousins like you would treat adult friends. If you recognize that you’re all likely to revert to childhood patterns and behaviors, you’re more able to proactively plan ways to avoid falling into that trap.
3 – Choose wisely. You’re allowed to say no to things that will add to your stress or hurt your physical or mental health. Think moderation — whether it’s food or drink or holiday spending, choosing moderation will help keep your stress levels down. The same is true for time with people who may not bring out your best self. You can keep interactions with difficult or toxic people to a minimum or avoid them altogether. It’s ok to protect your mental health by saying no.
4 – Ask for help. You don’t have to handle everything on your own. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks or with decisions or with circumstances, ask for help. None of us can do everything alone. We all have to ask for help sometimes. It’s ok to ask someone to help you.
5 – Find meaning in the season. Sometimes our stress is multiplied when we’re caught up in thinking about ourselves and our own struggles or busy agenda. Taking some time to focus on something bigger than ourselves can lower our stress. So it might help to spend some time thinking about the meaning behind Christmas and making meaningful connections or giving our time or money in ways that seem worthwhile.
We hope these tips are a start in helping you experience less stress this holiday season. How do you avoid or handle stress? Do you have any go-to tips to share with us? If so, post them in the comments below.