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Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly! The holiday season can be a joyful time of the year, but it can bring on a great deal of unwanted stress, too. Cleaning, cooking, entertaining, shopping – the list of demands during the holiday season goes on and on. However, with some tips and tricks, you can minimize holiday stress and maximize your enjoyment of the season.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

  1. Be proactive rather than reactive

    Try to prevent and minimize stress at its onset. When stress levels reach their peak, it becomes difficult to stop and regroup. Set your intention to enjoy the holiday season as much as you can. If you foresee a stressful or uncomfortable situation developing, think about ways to manage or avoid it before it occurs.

  2. Make plans ahead of time

    Prevent last minute scrambling by planning your menu; making your shopping list; arranging help in preparing, cooking, and cleaning. Designate certain days for baking, shopping, spending time with friends and family, relaxing, taking care of chores, etc.

  3. Set realistic expectations; accept imperfection

    The holidays can be chaotic, and there is very little chance that absolutely everything will go according to plan. You know this, so prepare yourself emotionally for the inevitable mishaps. This way, you’re not as disappointed when things go awry. Remember that there is beauty in imperfection. Focus on the important things, like love for your family, joy found in rest, and little moments of peace.

  4. Acknowledge your feelings

    If you have recently lost someone close to you, or you are unable to be with loved ones during the holidays, it can be helpful to remind yourself that it is normal to feel sadness and grief. Allow yourself to feel these emotions and remember that it’s perfectly okay to take time to express your feelings. Just because it is the holiday season, does not mean you can or should force yourself to be happy or ignore your emotional needs.

  5. Volunteer

    Doing something to help others is a great way to lift spirits and can result in broadening your own support network and building new friendships. Look up local opportunities to give back and spread holiday cheer.

  6. Maintain healthy habits

    The holiday season can become very hectic very quickly.  Be mindful of maintaining a healthy routine and habits. Keep up with your self-care. Practice mindfulness, gratitude, and generosity. Make time for yourself, engage in activities you enjoy, take walks, listen to music, or read a good book.  When needed, take a break to clear your mind and regain focus.

  7. Seek professional help if you need it

    If the stress of the holiday season seems too difficult to manage on your own and begins affecting your health and well-being, reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional.  There is no better gift for the holidays than taking care of yourself.

Do not lose sight of what matters most.  When overwhelmed with the stresses of the holiday season, remember what is most important and try not to let seasonal frustrations ruin your day.  When dealing with these frustrations, take a few minutes to find a way to turn the stressful situation into something pleasant by reflecting on all the good things you are grateful for. With careful preparation and these helpful tips, you can keep yourself feeling grounded, present, and joyful this holiday season!