Tips for Managing Holiday Stress
by Dr. Alina Khomenko
It’s that time of year again! For many of us, the holiday season that brings joy, nostalgia, and magic, also brings with it stress and anxiety. With the increasing demands of this time, it is important to check in with yourself, understand what is likely to trigger your anxiety, and implement a plan that will help you manage your stress so that you can maximize your enjoyment. Here are several tips to help manage stress and anxiety during the holiday season:
Communicate and get involved:
It can feel helpful to share your feelings of stress and anxiety with trusted friends and family. You will often find that they might be feeling the same way! Communicating with others may make you feel closer to others and less isolated with your negative emotions. If you do not feel comfortable sharing with others, journaling can serve as another helpful outlet. Additionally, seeking out community and social events may help you increase feelings of connectedness, intimacy, and companionship.
Plan ahead of time:
With all of the shopping, cooking, and visiting that you plan on doing, things can seem increasingly overwhelming and unmanageable. Planning the things that are important to you and, when you are able to, doing them ahead of time can contribute to a realistic and manageable schedule. Also, remember that it is absolutely ok to say “no” and set personal boundaries. You might experience short-term guilt or discomfort when you say no, but it is likely to prevent feelings of resentment and anxiety later on when you find yourself spread thin with all of the activities for which you signed up.
Prepare for the unexpected:
If you have an exact layout in your mind of how things will turn out, your stress and anxiety are likely to increase when things don’t turn out quite how you wanted. Amazon might not deliver your gift on time, family members you were hoping to get together might cancel on you, and your perfect dinner recipe might not come out quite as perfect after all. Adjusting your expectations and reminding yourself that things will likely not go exactly according to plan will allow you to accept and be flexible about unpleasant surprises.
Engage in self-care:
With all of the running around, planning, and preparation, it is easy to forget to check in with yourself and engage in self-care. It is important to allow some time for yourself in order to regroup and feel recharged to handle all of the increased responsibilities during this hectic time. Find something soothing and relaxing that you can do for yourself, such as listening to relaxing music, taking a hot bath, or reading your favorite book. Also, be sure to remain consistent with healthy habits such as sleeping, eating, and exercising.