6 Tips to Manage Stress During the Holidays

stress management Dec 20, 2021
Holiday Stress
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most stressful time of the year for a lot of people.
If you are feeling stressed out during the holidays, you are not alone. There is a lot of pressure to get everything done. There never seems to be enough time in the day. You feel overwhelmed with buying gifts for people.
Here are 6 tips to manage your stress during the holiday season:
1. Don’t forget what really matters.
The holidays can get hectic. During the hustle and bustle of everything, ask yourself what truly matters. Let the little things go.
If you are standing in a long line at the store and feeling like you need to rush, remind yourself that it is just a line – nothing more.
If you are stuck in holiday traffic, take that time to reflect on the positives of your day and the joy that comes with being with your family and friends instead of honking your horn and yelling at random people and cars.
2. Accept imperfection.
This one isn’t really just for the holiday season, but it is important to mention. Setting a bar impossibly high for ourselves will leave us feeling down when we can’t meet those expectations.
Acknowledge that things will not go exactly as planned. It’s okay if someone can’t make it to your holiday party. It’s okay if you forget to cook one of the sides. It’s okay if you have to miss out on one of the many traditions.
Be realistic and don’t set the bar too high. Enjoy the moment and spend quality time with those who matter to you.
3. Plan ahead.
Set aside specific days and blocks of time for grocery shopping, gift shopping, baking, volunteering, and connecting with friends. Our schedules seem to be too crazy when one thing bleeds into the time you feel like you should be doing something else.
Stick to your blocked schedule and you will not have to worry about when you are going to get things done.
Learn to say no when someone asks you to do something. This can be hard to do. If it is not feasible, don’t run yourself into the ground. I’m not saying to refuse to do any favors for people, but if you are not able to make it work then just say no. They will understand.
4. Set aside differences.
Accept your family members and friends as they are, even if you have a difference of opinions. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed. There is a strong chance that they are also under a lot of stress.
Set aside your grievances with other members of your family until it is an appropriate time to meet a resolution. You can ruin relationships by doing this at the wrong time and also make it uncomfortable for everyone else.
5. Stick to a budget.
Before you start shopping for gifts and food, decide exactly how much money you can afford to spend. Stick to this budget, no matter what. Don’t try to buy love from other people with an enormous amount of gifts.
Keeping on budget will allow you to take care of other things, should they arise. This could include unexpected medical bills, home repairs, car repairs, etc.
6. Don’t abandon healthy habits.
The holidays are full of cookies, cakes, pies, and comfort foods. The holidays are also full of tasks that eat away at your free time. It’s fine to indulge in these things, but you also need to keep on track with your healthy habits.
Allow yourself plenty of time to continue working out at the same frequency you would any other time of the year. Maybe go for that extra run on the weekend if you feel like you need it. Whatever you do for stress relief (meditation, yoga, exercise, therapy, etc.) should continue through the holiday season.
Happy holidays! Stay safe and make the most of your time with your loved ones!
Corey Hall, PT, DPT

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