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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

5 Stress Management Tips For The Holiday Season

It’s the time of year where all the Christmas movies are on TV full of holiday perfection. Everyone is happy, there are no arguments, no last-minute Christmas shopping, family stress or people changing their plans last minute. While I’m sure the majority of us wish the holiday period was as it is shown in movies, the reality is that the holidays are a stressful, expensive time of year.

So in an attempt to make your Christmas season merry, here are 5 stress management tips to support you and your family through the holiday season.

1. Recognize the stress of the holiday season

I don’t know about you, but the time after Thanksgiving and before Christmas has got to be one of the most stressful times of the year. It’s easy to see that lots of people are under a lot of stress financially, emotionally and physically. Christmas shopping and planning is hard work! There can be a lot of stress around making sure you get people the “right” gifts, spending the “right” amount of money, making plans for the holiday week and keeping in mind those family dynamics, all while maintaining normal family life in the run-up to Christmas.

The first step in managing stress during the holiday season is to first acknowledge it’s there. We all know that managing something that we deny the existence of is pretty much impossible. So first, take a minute to assess how you are feeling, and if you are feeling stressed then remember that it’s okay!

2. Practice Mindfulness

One of the best ways to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety is to practice mindfulness. Know that while stress is a normal physiological reaction to being overwhelmed, you do not need to suffer through it. It may sound simple, but mindfulness can have a profound effect on how your body reacts to stress. One of the easiest and most flexible types of mindfulness is to practice breathing techniques. Remember that anxiety and stress both have a physical component. Try square breathing, where you’ll inhale, hold your breath, and exhale for 4 seconds each. Or, tense and release each individual body part, starting at your head and ending at your toes. As you do so, you should notice that your mind becomes more rooted in the moment.

3. Take a little mental vacation

Another great way of managing stress is to take a little mental vacation. This doesn’t have to just be for the holiday season, but at any point in the year when you are feeling stressed.

The first step is to recognize when you are feeling stressed. If you notice that you are feeling stressed at any point, try taking yourself away from your current situation and distract yourself by focusing on something other than what’s stressing you. Try grabbing a cup of coffee or tea, close the door, and take a mental break. Do a little people watching, appreciate your scenery, or enjoy some fluffy clouds rolling by. Or on Christmas day if that means taking a quick 10 minutes to separate and allow yourself to daydream and take a mental vacation. You’ll be surprised at how helpful it can be.

4. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead can be a great way to manage stress over the holidays. Try setting aside specific days to do your Christmas shopping, visiting friends, writing Christmas cards, and other activities. This will spread out all the tasks you have to do and will help prevent the last-minute scramble to buy forgotten things and make last-minute plans and arrangements. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to reduce the stress of the holiday period, and this might be the year that you have everything arranged and bought before Christmas Eve!

5. Stop putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy

There is often a societal expectation for everyone to be super happy during the holidays, but for some, the holidays can be a difficult time of year. Some people may struggle with the increased level of socializing, the pressure to “be merry”, and others might struggle with the prospect of being alone at Christmas. One of the most important points we want you to remember this holiday is that it’s okay if you aren’t happy this holiday season. If you find yourself feeling unhappy or stressed this holiday, acknowledge these feelings and be gentle with yourself.

Most importantly, give yourself a gift and be kind to yourself this holiday season. The holidays can be tough. When you start to feel stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed, you can practice positive self-talk. Say to yourself, “you're doing your best, you’re strong, and you don’t need to change who you are." If this doesn’t work, find the positive affirmations that make sense to you and say them.

If you feel like your stress is getting too much, don’t hesitate to seek help. We are here for you. We will be open by appointment throughout the holiday week. You can get in touch with us here.


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