Holidays are a time for fun and cheer. However, there are things that might go wrong, which you can't control, which will cause you to stress out.
It's easy to get stressed out during the holiday season, especially if you try doing too many things at once and expect all of them to turn out perfect. Stress can undermine your health by making you more susceptible to illnesses. Hence, it's important to know how to minimize stress, or learn how to handle it better.
Stress is inevitable during the holidays. However, it is not very difficult to deal with. With a few changes in your thinking and routine, you can avoid it easily.
Causes for Stress During the Holiday Season
It can happen if you didn't bother to make a budget for the holidays and have ended up spending more than you can afford. Now you know that you are going to have to slog for the next 6 months to recover all that you have spent on gifts, food, travel and entertainment.
You have too many relationships, some of them complicated. That put together with the whole circus of family misunderstandings and conflicts, and it becomes stressful.
If you're spending your holidays running around shopping, visiting people, attending parties, and programs, it is not good for your body. Too much exercise, too much food, and too little rest or sleep take a toll.
Tips for Countering Stress During the Holidays
♦ Relax. Sit down and calm yourself. Tune everything else out for a bit, take a few deep breaths, and think about what really matters to you.
♦ Plan ahead. Schedule all the things you want to do or get done. Shop for gifts or cooking ingredients much before the holiday season, so that you don't have to cope with the rush and have everything you need at hand.
♦ Make a budget and stick to it. Don't overshoot your budget no matter what the temptation, or how much your children whine. It's completely okay to say 'no' to your children. It doesn't make you a bad parent even if they are likely to tell you so.
If you can, get creative and make gifts instead of buying them. People will appreciate the time you spent on making something special instead of getting something run-of-the-mill from the store.
♦ Go easy on yourself. You don't have to be perfect, and you don't have to do everything yourself. Get your children and other family members to pitch in and help with decorating the house, preparing the meals, shopping, and other things.
♦ Don't try to fit yourself into other people's expectations.
♦ Be realistic. Picture perfect holidays happen only in movies. In real life, unwanted stuff unfailingly crops up and things don't always go according to plan.
♦ Don't take on more activities than you can handle. You don't have to attend every single show and every single party in town. Go for quality, not quantity.
♦ Learn to let go. Traditions change, relatives move far away, children grow up. Things will not always be as they used to.
♦ Set differences aside. No family is perfect and there are always individuals that will rub you the wrong way. Don't try to change them. Change the way you react to them.
♦ Seek support if needed. It doesn't have to be a certified therapist. It can be anybody you trust enough to give good advice.
♦ Involve yourself in community activities. Helping others is a good way of helping yourself.
♦ Acknowledge your feelings. If you're feeling sad, understand the reasons for it and try to overcome it. By pretending to be happy, you will begin to feel so eventually.
♦ Eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. It's important to get at least eight hours of sound sleep.
♦ Make realistic resolutions.
♦ Treat yourself to a gift.
♦ Listen to soothing music.
♦ Try not to worry about things that are not in your control.
♦ Go for a walk with a close friend, partner, or even your pet.