The holidays can be a great time to watch Christmas movies, attend tree-lighting ceremonies, and experience outdoor ice skating, but it doesn’t mean it’s a perfect time of the year. In fact, it can be pretty overwhelming.
It can be very easy to feel the typical holiday stress when you realize you’ll end up seeing your family at some point. Sure, you love your family, but if you’ve had a rough year, can’t afford to buy presents for your kids, or are newly sober, it can be hard to put on a happy face and socialize.
If you’re looking for tips to cope with the stress during the holiday season, we are here for you. Let’s go over some of the best ways you can deal with the inherent stresses that come at the end of the calendar year.
Mindfulness and Deep Breathing
While mindfulness is useful throughout the year, it can be especially helpful when you’re struggling. Practicing it helps relieve stress, improve mental health and sleep, and even reduce chronic pain.
Mindfulness involves bringing yourself to the present moment. Whether you’ll use a YouTube tutorial or an app, you’ll be guided to take deep breaths and pay attention to how you’re feeling. Give it a go.
Let’s be honest; we all have a pep talk with ourselves from time to time (e.g., before doing a job interview, before going on a date).
Therefore, why not use self-talk to help you get through the stress of the holidays? Say to yourself, ”everything will be fine”, or ”I can do this.” It will help you remain calm and manage stress.
If you typically engage in negative self-talk, avoid it at all costs. It will only increase your stress. Replacing it with positive self-talk will help you shift your mindset to a positive one. Sure, it will take time, but everything starts with a first step.
Set Boundaries for Your Spending and Schedule
There’s nothing wrong with opting to take care of yourself instead of saying ”yes” to everything to please others.
You are the one who decides where to go, who to invite, and how much you’ll spend on gifts. You get to set boundaries. There’s no need to chat about politics with your cousin at Thanksgiving if you don’t want to or buy gifts on Black Friday that you can barely afford to keep up appearances.
Before you commit to hosting a party or travel, decide for how long you can have people over or for how long you can stay.
If you’re married, chat to your partner and come up with a plan that pleases you both.
Here’s an extra tip. You don’t have to hop on a plane or drive for hours to a place that you don’t feel you’ll be welcomed or that is threatening. You can feel the pressure to do so because it’s considered a family holiday, but you can say absolutely say no and not show up if it means preserving your mental health.
Focus on What You Can Control
You can only control your actions and thoughts. That means that there’s no point in feeling nervous about what your siblings will say around the Thanksgiving table or how your kids might behave at the holiday get together.
It’s healthier and less stressful for you to let go of what you can’t control. Focus on what you can control (actions and thoughts) and do what’s best for your family and you.
Managing Holiday Stress
Whether you’re going through situational sadness or holiday stress, know that however you feel now won’t last forever. Things do get better over time.
Plus, there are strategies you can use to help get you through it. Things like progressive relaxation, yoga, and meditation can certainly improve your well-being.
Do you need counseling services? We can help you out. Contact us now to see what we can do for you.