Holiday Stress? Discover 6 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
The “most wonderful time of the year” can quickly turn into the most stressful time of the year for many. When you are compounded by a mental illness, holiday pressures can create a perfect storm of exacerbated stressors, symptoms and setbacks if not proactively addressed.
Holiday stress can take over your life. It can negatively affect your sleep and cause you to become disturbed. Interpersonal stress, lack of control, work demands, and lack of flexibility are some of the issues that can negatively affect you due to stress.
Causes of holiday stress
Holiday Stress can quickly become overwhelming to make every meal award-worthy and every wrapped gift look perfect. Making a schedule to attend every party or feeling like you haven’t been invited to enough parties can also cause stress.
There’s also a desire to fill up in every tradition and event to make sure each day is memorable. When you add in the financial burden, travel, and visiting family members, stress can pile up quickly.
The holidays can also be a difficult time of year for people who have lost friends and family members. The memory of the loss can make it harder to cope with holiday season stressors.
Tips to cope with stress during the holidays
Stick to your self-care up routines
The holidays are notorious for ruining healthy habits. Making a short workout each morning will help your decision-making throughout the day. Fill up on healthy snacks like fresh fruit or veggies throughout this season, specifically before a dinner party or celebration to stave off tempting, but unhealthy, foods.
Have realistic expectations.
No holiday gathering is perfect. It’s okay if things don’t go your way. Don’t let something like forgetting to defrost the turkey ruin the day. Be flexible, and let it become another holiday memory. View these experiences as chances to practice being flexible.
Make Time for Yourself
To keep your sanity during this time of year, choose what it is you want to do for yourself. For example, schedule a spa day, or a relaxing massage. Seek out your friends and stay connected- it’s important to be able to vent with like-minded people during this time.
Keep your finances in check
If you’re worried about spending and how it will affect your finances after the holidays are over, be realistic about what you can afford. The sentiment behind a gift is more important than the cost.
For that, create a budget and stick to it. Spend only what you can afford. And if you don’t have the ability to spend anything, offer your talents to your friends and loved ones. After, don’t fall into to trap of making your holidays resemble a perfect Hallmark card. It’s the essence of the season and it’s spirituality that counts.
Work has a tendency of taking over one’s life as there is always a project or something else that must be completed. Include yourself in the priority list. Try to schedule small breaks at specific times of the day, leave the office at the same time each day.
Be proactive: seek professional help
The holidays can be a big event. And stress leading up to them is common. Talking to a friend or family member may help. But you may also want to see a counselor, or check in with your therapist before the holidays start.
A quick check-in with your psychologist can prepare you for what may turn out to be the most stressful time of the year.
New modalities in therapy, including behavioral modification and rapid transformational therapy (RTT), can be very useful to shift your mindset quickly and effectively and equip you with the confidence needed to enjoy the season for a change.
To learn more, schedule your initial consult with me for an informal chat!