While most people love the holiday season, it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. Parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining can all take up a lot of time and can become too much to handle. A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate an increase in stress over the holidays. Some ways to manage your stress during the holidays include:
- Reach out – if you’re feeling lonely or isolated try to find a group, religious community, or social events to find support and companionship. Volunteering can also help widen your social circle, and help you connect with others.
- Be realistic – it’s tempting to think that we must do everything we can to make the holidays perfect, but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Be open to changes in your plans, and don’t overdo things trying to make everything just right.
- Stick to a budget – know your spending limits, and shop accordingly. An avalanche of gifts isn’t worth the bills you’ll have to pay later.
- Plan ahead – set aside specific days for specific activities, such as shopping, baking, and visiting friends and relatives. Try not to schedule too many things on one day so that you’re not running around trying to do too many things on one day.
- Share the load – you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Enlist friends and family members to help out, and spend time with them at the same time.
- Learn to say no – of course we want to please everyone, and get to see everyone, during the holidays, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Friends and colleagues realize that not everyone can go to every event, so don’t feel bad if you need a break, or if you already have something else planned.
- Stick to healthy habits – Don’t overindulge throughout the entire season just because there are extra treats readily available. Take care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep and incorporating regular physical activity into your routine. If you’re worried about parties, have a healthy snack beforehand so you don’t go overboard.
- Take a break – make sure to have time to yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes alone without distractions. Take a walk outside, listen to soothing music, get a massage, or read a book.
The holidays should be about spending time with loved ones, and being happy; however the stress of the holidays can sometimes trigger depression, so seek professional help if you feel it getting out of control.