Coping with Holiday Stress

The holiday season is characteristically a time of joy, peace, and a time to gather with friends and family. Although this time of year is filled with happiness, it can also be a time of stress and sadness. You may feel overwhelmed with planning get togethers, scheduling time with friends and family, and finding the perfect gifts, all while managing your normal schedule. This can lead to feelings of irritability, sadness, anxiety and anger. It is important to identify what your expectations are for yourself and family during the holiday season. Are your expectations realistic? 

What can you do to help yourself cope with your stress during the holidays?

Schedule time with friends and family in advance so that you are aware of how to plan each day. Shop early and ask friends and family what they want for presents so that everything is ready and you aren't running around last minute. Manage your time: set priorities and let go of impossible goals that are unrealistic. Ask others to help out if you are feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes we just can't do it all. Don't feel inadequate if you can't do it all.

Maybe you are experiencing the holiday blues, which can be challenging and difficult to understand. You may expect yourself to feel happy all of the time and if you don't you may feel disappointed. Maybe you expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child. As we grow up, things change and it is important to find new value in the holidays. Practice mindfulness of being present in the moment and enjoy your time with friends and family. So often we just go through the motions and are thinking about your next gathering or things that you need to get ready and you forget to embrace the people you are with at that time. Practice gratitude: identify and remind yourself of all of the things you are thankful for. Sometimes when we are stressed or overwhelmed we forget all of the good things in our lives. If you are starting to feel depressed or lonely, volunteer at a local church or organization to give back to those that are in need and help you feel connected to others. 

Most importantly, as we all know, the holiday temptations of delicious family recipes can be overwhelming in itself. Try to limit overindulgences and maintain healthy eating and exercise routines to help you cope with stress, sadness and anxiety. Make sure that you make time for yourself and give yourself a break. Sometimes we just need to a take a time out to prevent burnout and reboot ourselves so that we are our best self. The holidays are a wonderful time and learning ways to cope with stress can help you enjoy this special time of year.