How to Not Let the Holiday Season Stress Get the Best of You

If it’s really the most wonderful time of the year, why is it also one of the most stressful? Indeed, for many, the holiday season is a bittersweet time. On one hand, it’s a time for cheer and visiting loved ones, but on the other, it’s also a time for feelings of disappointment or potentially awkward encounters. Holiday stress is a real thing, and it’s a real bummer. Here’s what you can do about minimizing stress this season.

Understand Where the Stress Is Coming From

Taking time to actually think about where your stress is coming might be the best thing you can do to limit your stress. After all, you can’t really fix anything until you know the root of the problem. Is your anxiety coming from worries about letting your loved ones down? Anxiety over finances? Concerns that you won’t be keep up with all your commitments? Once you have an idea of what’s actually worrying you, you can start taking action in tackling the problem. Or, you might even realize how silly your concerns really were to begin with.

Be Prepared and Don’t Procrastinate

One of the major stressors of the holiday season is preparing for all the activities that the season brings, like get-togethers and gift exchanges. For most, December is a busy, busy month even if they have some time off from work. Keeping track of your commitments and tackling them as soon as possible will help alleviate these busyness-based stresses. If it helps, keep a calendar or to-do list and set aside an hour each day to accomplishing whatever tasks you need to finish. Also remember that it’s perfectly fine to say “no” to some commitments.

Don’t Try So Hard to Live Up to Expectations

Oftentimes, we hold ourselves up to imaginary standards that others don’t necessarily hold us up to. For instance, if you’re overly concerned with hosting the perfect Christmas dinner, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. This is complicated when you’re also concerned about how you think others perceive you, whether correctly or incorrectly. Keep in mind that it’s easy–and harmful–to be too hard on yourself. You don’t need to live up to some ideal; rather, your holiday season will still be fine and your loved ones will still love you.

Practice Healthy Habits

The holiday season can be a time of overindulgence, whether you’re revelling in food, drink, or even sleep. While it’s OK to treat yourself during this time of the year, overdoing it for a week or more can put you in a funk. It’s almost sacrilege to say, but you should strive to eat healthy and exercise, even during the holidays. This doesn’t mean you need to lace up your running shoes and brave the cold. Even simple activities like yoga and meditation, while not for everyone, can help alleviate stress.

The holidays should be a time we look forward to, not dread. While there will always be things that don’t go quite the way you planned, you definitely have some say in how you feel about it. With these stress-reducing tips, hopefully you’ll be able to have a happier holiday and new year!

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