The holiday season is widely acknowledged as a time of joy, wonder, and giving. On the other hand, dealing with the crowds, the bad weather, and the financial pressure of buying presents can easily turn it into one of stress and anxiety. Here are some ways to keep from getting overwhelmed during the holidays:
- Take Care of Yourself – Exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating right will go a long way to help with stress. Unfortunately, these activities are often neglected during times of high stress. Make taking care of yourself a priority during the holidays.
- Focus on What is Important about the Holidays – It is critical to make clear decisions on how you want to spend your time and resources. If you fear that you are on the verge of overcommitting yourself, feel free to scale back. Learn how to say no when you are invited to that holiday party you really do not want to attend. Focus on what is important to you and your family, even if that means scaling back on the expensive gifts.
- Avoid Unhealthy Ways of Dealing with Stress – Some coping strategies that may reduce your stress in the short-term will actually do more damage than good. These unhealthy methods include smoking, overeating or undereating, sitting in front of the TV or computer for hours, withdrawing from people and activities, sleeping too much, or keeping yourself busy every minute of the day. Heathier ways to relax include writing in a journal, taking a hot bath, going for a walk outside, reading, and playing with a pet.
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- Reach Out to Friends and Family – One of the best ways of handling stress is to reach out to your social network of friends and family. Call someone or go out to lunch with a friend. The holidays can also mean a large amount of family conflict so it might be a good idea to have realistic expectations about family get togethers.
- Be Creative with Gifts – There is no rule that says you have to go into debt in order to make the holidays special. Some of the best presents are the memories. Think about what your loved ones would enjoy the most.
- Stick to Your Normal Schedule – It is easy during the holidays to get thrown off of your normal schedule, and this usually creates a large amount of stress in of itself. Stick to your normal schedule as much as possible. Kids, in particular, need regular mealtimes and bedtimes in order to feel secure.
- Involve the Whole Family in Holiday Planning – One of the best ways to enjoy the holidays is to make it a family affair. Getting everyone involved in the holiday planning will make it a more enjoyable experience for all.
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