A woman relaxing during the holidays.
Healthy Living

Coping with Holiday Stress: How to Keep the Grinch at Bay

Dec 10 2020

For many people, the holiday season is a time for peace and joy, but for others it brings on lots of stress and anxiety. Whether it comes from having to spend too much money on too many gifts or coping with a busier schedule, it’s one of the most stressful times of year.

However, you don’t have to let these feelings get you down. Learn how to navigate the holiday season, starting with these tips.

Plan ahead

One major cause of holiday stress is the feeling that you’re not in control. You can fix this by planning ahead.

Create a budget for gifts. Plan a day or two for shopping. Get a head start on any meal planning and prep as well. Being proactive can make the entire season more enjoyable.

Don’t forget your health

Even when it’s stressful, the holiday season can be a magical time of year. It may seem like calories don’t count when you’re eating Christmas cookies, and there’s no point in exercising when it’s cold outside.

Unfortunately, not keeping up with your own health needs can make you feel even worse than you already do and zap your energy. While it’s completely fine to indulge occasionally, stick to your diet as much as possible. And always make room in your schedule for exercise — it’s a natural antidepressant.

Find time to relax

Even during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to take a moment each day to breathe. Go for a walk, listen to your favorite music, read a book, take a nap or do something that helps you feel relaxed and replenished.

Lower your expectations 

Too many people long for a picture-perfect holiday season, and the truth is that it doesn’t exist. Instead of trying to decorate your house so you can show it off on Instagram, take your kids out to see Christmas lights and create memories. Instead of baking the perfect holiday meal, order takeout, and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to clean the kitchen afterwards. The holidays can still be fun without going overboard.

Stay connected with people you enjoy

With the COVID-19 pandemic this year, our holiday gatherings will look a lot different in order to keep everyone safe. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have quality time with the ones you love.

Take advantage of technology this holiday season! Have a holiday meal with family via video chat and drop off portions of the different dishes to each other beforehand. Set up a text chain with a group of friends so you can stay in touch and help each other get through the craziness. Create a weekly reminder to give your grandma who lives in a nursing home a call. These are just a few ways we can stay close while being physically apart this year.

Don’t force a celebration if you aren’t up for it

For many people, the holidays are stressful because of tough situations. Maybe you recently lost a loved one or you’ve gone through a divorce. Maybe you’ve lost your job, or you can’t return home for the holidays because of COVID-19.

It’s okay to be disappointed when it feels like most of the rest of the world is celebrating. It’s okay to acknowledge and feel your emotions. However, if these emotions become constant and overwhelming, you may want to seek professional consultation for help.

If you don’t think you can beat the holiday blues on your own, we are here to help. Learn about the behavioral and mental health services we offer at Bon Secours.

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