The holiday season is a joyous time of year that many people look forward to all year. Holiday traditions, holiday treats, time spent with family and friends, and winter vacations are just a few of the highlights. However, the same holiday favorites can also cause a significant amount of stress. In a 2018 study conducted by OnePoll, it was found that 88% of Americans experience stress during the holidays. Survey results reveled the top causes of holiday stress include where to spend the holidays, whose family members to visit, how much money to spend on gifts, who cooks the holiday dinner, and who cleans up the house. In addition, trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keeping the house prepped for guests can cause strain on people’s sanity.
Tips for Managing Holiday Stress
- To help prevent stress over money, plan ahead, review your finances, and come up with a realistic budget for gifts. Try talking to friends and family members about a gift price limit to prevent the pressure of buying an expensive gift or get creative and give a meaningful, handmade gifts. Remember that it isn’t the amount of money you spend that matters, it is the thought you put into the gift and the time you spend with that person that are most important.
- Be sure to get plenty of exercise. Exercising is a great stress reliever and it will help prepare you to handle any daily stressors more effectively. You can incorporate exercise into your holiday festivities by inviting the whole family to get active! Go ice skating, walk through holiday markets or light displays, go skiing or snowboarding, or even find some winter hiking trails. Visit our previous post for more tips on incorporating exercise into a busy holiday schedule!
- Keep it simple! The main purpose of the holidays is to enjoy time with friends and family. You do not have to make everything over the top or perfect, and you also don’t need to put all the responsibilities on yourself! Split up the chores, meals, and even gift wrapping among family members to allow yourself to have more time to relax and enjoy yourself.
- Set aside “me time.” This is not only the best way to truly relax, but it is also necessary for your mental health. Go to the gym, walk the dog, take a run around the neighborhood, take a bath, or turn in early to read a few chapters in your book, whatever helps you decompress and clear your mind!
- Getting a large group of family members together can be a lot fun, but there will likely be clashing personalities. While it is easier said than done, aim to “agree to disagree” with certain family members. Avoid any hot topics if you know they cause you stress or lead to arguments, and instead focus on your time together. If it helps, plan activities such as movie night, stocking decorating, cookie baking, or checking out local events!
- Learn to say “no” without feeling guilty. Saying yes to every event or gathering can wear you out both mentally and physically. Take the time to evaluate which events are truly important to you and say yes to only those. This will not only lower your stress levels, but it will allow you to be more present and enjoy the moment.
- Get enough sleep! Sleep deprivation drastically increases any feelings of being stressed or overwhelmed. You need 7-8 hours of sleep every night in order for your body and mind to rejuvenate, this is especially true during the holiday season, so plan your schedule accordingly!
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