The holidays are here, and that means traditions, celebrations and unfortunately, a heightened sense of stress for many. Experts say people experience a range of seasonal emotions from the holiday blues to anxiety attacks to increased stress levels associated with holiday activities and responsibilities. The hustle and bustle of preparing for family and friends can cause us to feel rushed and overwhelmed. Unrealistic expectations to create the ‘perfect’ holiday can cause anxiety. That additional stress, which can be self induced or brought on by other family members, on top of daily stressors can be tremendous.
The search engine Google, lists more than 700,000 entries when the keyword phrase, “stress and the holidays” is typed in. Yahoo lists about 400,000. MSN Search shows over 175,000. That’s a lot of stress. Experts note that stress is part of everyday life. However, the build-up of stressors can lead to crisis if action is not taken to manage the stress. The holidays are a particularly important time to be aware of what stressors affect you so that you can better manage the situation and not dampen the spirit of the season for yourself and everyone around you. Listed below are some stress management tips:
Perspective -- Put the holiday into perspective and avoid trying to please everyone.
Visualize – Plan ahead how to handle potentially unpleasant situations. If Aunt Betty and Cousin Billy don’t get along, make sure they don’t get seated together at the family dinner table.
Routine – Regardless of the holidays, maintain your exercise routine. If you don’t have one, start one. Even using the stairs or going on walks helps you physically and reduces your stress level.
Moderation – Don’t go overboard on holiday spending, decorating or entertaining, all of which can lead to added post-holiday stress. Consider on-line shopping to avoid stressful shopping experiences. Take advantage or free shipping, free gift wrapping and no sales tax in certain purchasing areas.
Selective -- Pick and choose your holiday activities. Buy some pre-baked goods this year; co-op with other parents for school festivities; choose to stay home some nights; or volunteer to help others to put your stress in the right perspective.
Humor – Get a sense of one.
Relax – Make time for yourself. Find time to enjoy the holidays for yourself. They are meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
Wishing all a Blessed Holiday Season,