This month we are exploring holiday stress causes and a few of the symptoms. Now we will discuss ideas that you may use to manage that holiday stress and hopefully decrease any symptoms you may have. Keep in mind that a technique that works for one person may not work for you and you may have to try something multiple times for it to be effective.

  1. Setting priorities: pick and choose the activities or events that are most important to you and allow yourself to skip the lesser important ones.
  2. Find ways to simplify: Buying some pre-made food items or ask others to pitch in. They are usually just waiting to be asked because they can’t read your mind. Fewer decorations and lessen the holiday stops (zoom or in person) may help decrease stress.
  3. Allow yourself to change your expectations: No holiday that I have been a part of has ever turned out perfectly. Try not to overthink what could go wrong and focus on what will be right. If things don’t go as expected, try to learn from it and it will make the next holiday better.
  4. Recognize your limitations and let others know: Plan your events/days and acknowledge what you can actually get done without raising your stress levels. If that means limiting your shopping, food prep, visit times etc, it’s OK. Letting other know this will decrease the guess work and allow them to plan themselves. It may also help others recognize how they can assist you.
  5. Don’t over spend: Money stressors are some of the worst. Less can be more. Fewer food options on the table make people appreciate the ones that are there. Finding gift ideas that you can make or change your ideas into quality time/events with you ie a day ice skating vs a sweater or a cooking lesson vs an expensive kitchen appliance.
  6. Learn to be OK with saying “no” at times: It’s hard to say no to things around the holidays because we want to be social and generous, but it’s easy to over extend. It’s especially ok to say no this year due to Covid 19. Shopping is difficult, money is tight, risk of sickness etc. Covid 19 is a free pass for saying no to gatherings. It’s hard not to be around family and friends during the holidays, but we want everyone around for next year.
  7. Allow for some “me” time: Take some time to focus on yourself and reflect on how you are doing. It’s ok to make changes if you need to. Even if it’s a few minutes to do some diaphragmatic breathing. Don’t forget to try and eat right, exercise and relax.
  8. Avoid excess alcohol or substance use and this may actually increase stress around the holidays.
  9. Take diaphragmatic breaths and do something you enjoy each day.