It’s the holiday season! However, according to the American Psychology Association, 38% of Americans report increased stress levels during the holidays. Did you know Americans are one of the most stressed-out populations in the world? Stress is a part of life, but it takes a heavy toll on our physical, mental and emotional well-being. The holidays are a time for celebrating the joy of giving and togetherness, yet unrealistic expectations can derail our jolly mood.
So, how can we beat holiday stress? First, let’s look at the stressors associated with the holidays. Do these ring any merry bells?
- Pressure to be perfect
- Too many obligations
- High expectations
- Travel delays
- Family tension
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Tips for having a Stress-Free Season
- Be realistic and know your limits. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or look the same year after year. Plans change so be open to finding other ways to celebrate if needed. Focus on what’s important and let go of what isn’t.
- Plan ahead. Set a schedule for specific tasks and involve your family or friends. Decide what’s going to be on your menu and make a shopping list. Order gifts early to avoid shipping delays or out of stock items. If you are traveling, try to book as early as you can and pre-pack your bags.
- Stay on budget. Decide how much you can afford on gifts and food. Don’t overspend by keeping track of your purchases. Limit self-gifting. Consider making homemade gifts that are from the heart or start a family gift exchange.
- Share the tasks. Enlist friends and family to help you with decorating, meal planning, cooking and cleaning.
- Set aside grievances. Try to accept family members for who they are and find commonalities. Nip arguments in the bud before it devolves into a meltdown. Consider the bigger picture. Empathy and civility go a lot farther than conflict and anger.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Maintain your normal routine by continuing to eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and practice mindfulness.
Coping with Stress, Depression and the Holidays
With these practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.
Staying Stress-Free During the Holidays
This article presents some ways that can help you stay calm around the holidays and enjoy the season.
Holiday Stress Resource Center
Well-organized and easy-to-use guides on everything that can trigger holiday stress.
Library Resources to Ease Your Stress
- Everyday Stress Relief: Essential Techniques to Boost Emotional Resiliency and Improve Your Health by Ruth C. White, PhD
Build mental resilience and take control of your anxiety with these stress relief tips and techniques for every day.
If you're tired of living in tension and frustration, weighed down by the troubles of life, then it's time for a change.
- Peace From Anxiety: Get Grounded, Build Resilience, and Stay Connected Amidst the Chaos by Hala Khouri
The author explores how our brain and nervous system experience stress and discusses how we can begin to get in touch with our body to better understand its signals and how to handle them.
- 101 Ways to Be Less Stressed: Simple Self-Care Strategies to Boost your Mind, Mood, and Mental Health by Dr. Caroline Leaf
Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf helps you change your life by changing your mind with 101 simple ways to reduce stress through mental self-care.