How can I deal with holiday stress?
With Thanksgiving having just passed, it means the holidays are, for many, in full swing. Black Friday saw millions of shoppers descending upon stores online and off, and the holiday parties have already begun.
For some of us, it’s the most fun, wonderful time of the year.
For others, it’s the most painful.
For most of us, it’s also the most stressful.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? The pressure of gift-giving can cause significant financial stress, especially now when inflation is at an all-time high; the obligation of meetings friends and family – whether we want to or not – can be an anxiety-inducing thing too.
And even good stress – that pressure we have when we’re making big, amazing meals, the added responsibilities of hanging lights and putting up decorations and wrapping gifts when it seems we barely had time for just the usual, day-to-day stuff before the holidays – is still stress.
And that stress can cause a lot of disruption. It can impact our sleep, our moods, and our concentration levels. It can cause us to snap, to break down, to get sick.
So how do we minimize the amount of stress we have during the holidays – or at the very least, deal with it better?
Seems counterintuitive or silly, doesn’t it? When it already feels like you don’t have time, how on earth could you possibly come up with more time?
It’s about assessing what’s on your plate and making sure you’re on your own plate too. This means that maybe you’ll have to say no to one project at work, or one meal out with a cousin, if it means making time for yourself. Even if it’s an hour away to get a massage, to watch a favorite TV show, to get out to a hiking trail and just breathe in fresh air – it’ll help with the stress.
Many of us have priority lists, but do you sometimes feel like everything is a priority? (We hear you!) This holiday season, be honest about what is actually a priority. Will everything fall apart if you don’t paint the front hallway? Is that work project going to burn if you take a 15-minute break to take a walk around the block? Consider what’s priority this hour, this day, this week, this month, or for the rest of the year, and set aside what doesn’t need to be done exactly this moment.
Choose your coping strategies wisely.
Sure, it might be tempting to buy yourself one item for every one item you buy for someone else – that’s retail therapy, right? Or hey, it’s the holidays – what’s a cookie here, there, and before you know it, everywhere? It feels good – so do it, right?
Well, yes, in a way. There’s nothing wrong with finding and doing things that feel good, especially when you’re stressed. But when you’re self-medicating with shopping, gambling, substances, or even food, it’s time to learn how to deal with stress in a healthier way. Stay close to supportive, positive friends and family members.