Coping Strategies Holiday Stress
Coping strategies for holiday stress is a must! Holiday commercials are filled with families and people shouting their joy to the world and excitement for the upcoming festivities. What they do not show, however, is the other side of the holidays. The stress, anxiety, guilt and sometimes the overwhelming desire to crawl under a blanket and hide until New Year’s Day aren’t typically talked about. However, if they are, they’re brushed aside by (hopefully) well-meaning relatives who just want to see you happy during this wonderful time of the year. Stress is often shooed away with the flick of a distant relative’s hand as they describe just how thankful and elated you should be during the holiday season.
So let’s talk about what happens when you find yourself anxiety-ridden in a Black Friday storm of holiday shopping or feverishly trying to wrap during your off-work and weekend hours. What if you shop with every dime you’ve earned to give your child a magical holiday and it feels as if you’re still falling short? What are you to do when the joy and excitement of the holiday season instead have you feeling isolated and stressed out?
Think about the following mental health coping strategies for holiday stress to keep your stress levels manageable and hopefully to a minimum!
Reflection to reduce holiday stress
Before the holidays even begin, take a few moments to reflect on the upcoming festivities and all they mean to you. How do you envision them going? What would make you happiest? Do you want to make sure your kids get to do certain activities or attend certain events? What about you? Before the hustle and bustle begins, just stop to think about all of these questions. Take note of them if that will help you remember all you want to accomplish or talk to a loved one. Even if you have kids, a spouse, friends, and family to contend with and keep happy over the holiday season, be sure to shine some light on your wants and needs to! This will surely cut down on the amount of overall stress you may have if you get to enjoy the holidays along with everyone else!
Write it all out
As mentioned, making lists and writing plans down might help both reduce stress and help keep you to your goals for the holiday season. Make as many lists as you feel necessary. Make lists for:
- Holiday shopping
- Holiday gift card recipients
- Holiday appetizers and/or meals
- Places to go
- People to see
- Events wishlist
Make sure you have a budget list drawn up as well – and stick to it! Holiday stress can be far more manageable when a budget is stuck to and goals can be physically checked off to signal completion. Budgets are especially important to stick to during the holidays. Financial stress can become increasingly overwhelming and out of control when it comes to buying gifts, catering events, and holiday photos, trying to make everything special for everyone!
Be open to a change in holiday plans
The holidays are a time of excitement and inevitable chaos. Sticking to an exact plan likely isn’t going to happen – planes get delayed, events rescheduled, illness and miscommunication and the like are all potential factors in interrupting scheduled events. The more open and receptive you are to change will help reduce stress. Try to keep an open mind and be accepting of plans being moved around, canceled or changed and you’ll likely experience less stress!
Don’t be alone!
The holiday season comes with many emotions – some high and some low. Emotional baggage can accompany large holidays like Christmas and it can be difficult to forgive and forget situations with current or former friends or relatives. Regardless of the current state of affairs or relationships, try not to isolate yourself. Surround yourself with people who care about you and make the holidays fun and inviting. Get out and go to holiday parties and events, make new friends and enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are exciting, fun, joyous, chaotic, and overwhelming times of the year. The holidays can mean different things to various people and there can be triggers for stress around every corner. Keeping these coping strategies for holiday stress in mind can help reduce tension, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed and pressured. Stay positive, get some light exercise and fresh air and surround yourself with loved ones as additional measures to keep holiday stress at bay!