Experiencing Some Holiday Stress?
Along with all the baking, family time, gift exchanges, and Holiday parties, this time of year comes with increased stress and anxiety. We often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year, therefore planning for the holidays can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, and – in some cases – depressed. When the realities of the day-to-day life conflict with our efforts to make the holiday season perfect, the result is usually stress.
There are a few simple things you can do to de-clutter and de-stress your life over the next few weeks.
1 – It is important to reflect on the expectations you have for the holidays – are they realistic? Have you put too much on your plate? Have you committed to too many events and/or parties? Asking yourself these questions can be the first step to managing holiday stress. Make a list of what your expectations are. Hidden in the things you have written down may be the potential holiday stressor – the things particular to you that cause you anxiety.
2 – Then, for each of the items you have marked down try to come up with potential changes you can make to prevent or defuse the stress. Adopt the changes that will be most helpful to you and avoid holding on to your unrealistic goals. For example are you a Gift-giving guru? Instead of scouring the earth for the most perfect gift, try asking people what they would like for Christmas. Or if you are stressed about the amount of money the season seems to cost you, set a budget and STICK TO IT. Does cooking for gatherings add weight on your shoulders? Try asking guests to bring their favorite dishes. Or consider buying prepared foods or even cooking in advance and freezing your dishes until you require them.
The simple act of SIMPLIFYING your holiday commitments and traditions will easily defuse your stress by a significant amount.
For some, the holidays can not only be stressful but a depressing time. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anger can intensify when contrasted with the joy expected of the holidays. Try something new. Take a vacation with your family and absorb some much-needed Vitamin D. Tight budget? Try simply spending time with those you care most about. Or volunteer your time to help others. If you are religious, take time to reflect on the spiritual significance of the holidays. Stay active – Get out. Go for a walk. Window shop. If nothing seems to help then seek support. Talk to your friends, your family, or a counselor about your anxiety. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work towards a solution for your stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consider seeing a professional to help you manage.
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