Stress is a common element of our day-to-day life; however, the concept of stress is not something you should associate with holidays, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but holiday stress is a real thing! While the holiday season is a time when families get together to celebrate, there is also an overwhelming set of demands: shopping trips, getting gifts, elaborate cooking, baking, cleaning, entertaining, and so on.
This year, with the pandemic still looming large, COVID is sure to be a significant added stressor to the holidays. You may feel extra stressed with many of your holiday plans going haywire. You might also be perpetually anxious about your loved ones’ health and the pressures of holiday spending while dealing with pay-cuts, or even worse, job loss. But the good news is that with some expert tips at your disposal, you can beat holiday stress and end up enjoying this time of the year more than you thought!
Don’t Be in Denial
You have to come to terms with the fact that being sad, even though the world around you is rejoicing, is alright. It is okay to have your reasons to grieve, and you are allowed to take your own time to cope. Acknowledging how you’re feeling is most important.
You are not obliged to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. Brood, cry, express your feelings; it is essential to accept negative feelings as necessary emotions.
Are you feeling lonely and isolated? Don’t hesitate to reach out. Besides friends and family, there’s social media, virtual events, and many online support groups these days that can offer companionship and moral support.
You can simply talk to a friend about your concerns, whether it be through text, call, or video chat. Or you could do some volunteering or participate in activities that help others. Selflessly giving your time to help others is a sure way to lift your spirits during the holiday season.
Get Realistic About Holidays
The holiday season will not be perfect, and it doesn’t need to be. Nor does the holiday season have to be just like last year. With time, families evolve, their ways of celebration change, and so do their traditions and customs.
If some of your family members cannot visit this year, you can find other ways to celebrate. You could share pictures, videos, and emails, or can meet virtually through video calls. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations centered around the holiday season, and you won’t be disappointed.
Set Your Differences Aside
Often family get-togethers during the holiday season get stressful due to mutual differences and conflicts surfacing. The mantra is to set your disagreements aside and accept your family/friends as they are. On the other hand, if someone gets upset or something goes awry, try to understand and empathize with their point of view. Who knows, they may be dealing with holiday stress too!
Stick to a Budget
A budgetary estimate should precede those shopping trips. Don’t splurge on gifts and food beyond your means. Instead, you can go for homemade gifts and donate the amount you save to a charity. There’s no point in spending more than you can afford and regretting it later.
Make Your Plans Well Ahead of Time
To try to avoid as much unnecessary stress as possible, it is best to stay organized. Your holiday season should have specific days set for shopping, baking, and connecting with friends. It is a good idea to plan out your menus before making your shopping list and to shop online to avoid last-minute scrambling.
It Is Ok to Say No
Saying yes, even though you want to say no, will make you feel overwhelmed and resentful. If you don’t wish to participate in a specific activity or celebration, say it. Your friends and family members should understand and give you space.
Healthy Habits Are a Mandatory
Overindulgence during the holiday season can add to the stress and guilt. Ensure you eat healthy meals, get sufficient sleep, and participate in regular physical activity. It is also highly recommended to practice some deep-breathing exercises and always avoid excessive consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, if not altogether.
A Breather Can Help a Lot
It is important to take some time just for yourself. When you have time, enjoy an activity that interests you. Or simply take a break. Even 15 minutes of being all by yourself, minus any distractions, can have a calming effect. You could listen to soothing music, read a book, or go for a walk. Basically, find some time beyond the fun and frenzy of the holiday spirit to connect with your inner self.
Seek Professional Help
If you feel you cannot cope with the holiday season’s challenges, don’t shy away from seeking professional assistance. Talk to a mental health expert if you continue to be plagued by feelings of restlessness, sadness, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, etc.
It is essential to identify the personal holiday triggers so that you can deal with them accordingly. Whether it be the financial pressures or personal demands; you can face it all with these tips in mind.