While many look forward to the holidays, others dread the season. If you feel stressed, the obligations at holiday time can take their toll on even the most cheerful of people. Here are some tips to help you minimize holiday stress.
Causes of Stress
Ask yourself what exactly about the season makes you feel stressed. Your feelings may be triggered by the following:
- Unhappy childhood memories
- Difficult familial relationships
- Negative feelings about your life over the past year
- Seasonal monotony—seeing the same faces, eating the same food and going through the same motions
- Lowered immune defenses because of colder temperatures, high incidence of the flu, eating more and sleeping less
- Financial stress
Minimize Holiday Stress
Consider the following tips to help reduce stress this holiday season:
- Enjoy the present and try not to worry about what may be lacking.
- Don’t feel you must meet all family obligations. Do not simply do something or go somewhere because of tradition, especially if it makes you unhappy.
- Ask others for assistance. For example, ask a relative to host the family get-together, or make it a potluck and have everyone contribute to the meal.
- Make a to-do list in chronological order to minimize stress.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Stay active and continue to eat a balanced diet.
- Create a new tradition, such as volunteering, especially if you feel lonely.
- Make time for yourself and your needs, even when hosting guests in your house.
- Keep tabs on your holiday spending. Make a budget and stick to it.
For information on stress management and mental health resources, speak with your AHW health coach.