Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

December 9, 2014

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season is fast approaching but are you ready for the parties, family gatherings and parental duties that come with the holidays? Though December celebrations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, many people connect the festivities to extra stress.

You can rely on several basic tips for handling holiday stress and enjoying the celebration. We’ve put together a list of few great suggestions you can try this season.

Realistic Expectations

Wanting to organize the ‘perfect’ holiday celebration for your family may contribute to anxiety, negative emotions and even depression stemming from disappointment in not meeting your unrealistic expectations. Having realistic expectations is thus very important for enjoying the holidays.

Let’s face it – chances are that your holidays won’t turn out to be perfect. Your family may be late for the gathering; you could experience a culinary fiasco or have a fight with your partner because of all the prep work you have to do. But you can change the traditions to decrease the stress level and have fun this year.

The holidays don’t have to be perfect. If you can temper any grand expectations, you’ll probably be happier with the outcome.

Delegate Tasks

Trying to handle everything on your own? Is your anxiety level through the roof already?

Learn to delegate tasks. A relative will probably not execute to your high standards but the work will get done. Come up with a “to do” list and make sure that everyone is responsible for some of the prep work. Don’t let perfection become the enemy of ‘getting it done’.

Instead of obsessing about the perfect decorations, focus on spending time with your loved ones. Be intentional in making the holiday season all about quality family experiences – not , who has the best decorations in the neighborhood.

Take Care of Yourself

Engage in the activities that you enjoy the most. Relax, visit a day spa or make your own spa-at-home-day. If possible, consider dedicating an entire day to having fun with your kids and your spouse.

Let your loved ones know how you feel. Keeping it all inside can easily contribute to holiday depression. If a particular aspect of the celebration plan is not making you happy, you’ll need to let others know about it. A few simple changes will reduce the stress you feel and give you a wonderful holiday.

If you continue feeling stressed and anxious, you may consider talking to a therapist. There could be a deeper, inherent problem that is contributing to your feelings of inadequacy and sadness. The sooner you address the issue in a professional manner, the happier you’re going to be with this and future holidays.

A Few Additional Tips

Several other factors contribute to holiday stress. Take care of those and you’ll feel much more relaxed:

  • Set a holiday budget in advance: holiday spending could contribute to serious anxiety. Talk to your family in advance, set a budget and stick to it.
  • Accept family members the way they are: we all have an annoying aunt or an overly talkative niece. Try to set the differences aside and embrace the family experience. If you don’t pay attention to such differences, you’ll probably have a really good time.
  • Start planning ahead of time: beginning holiday prep early enough will give you time to deal with everything.
  • Forget about traditional Christmas and have a vacation with your family: a trip may be just what you need to deal with the holiday blues and have a good time. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – even a day trip or outing might do the trick.

The holidays should be fun and relaxing but often are expectations and perception of others’ expectations of us contribute to disappointment and even depression. Step back, take a breath and tackle the issues contributing to anxiety. If necessary, talk to a professional. Therapy can help you overcome unresolved issues and find coping mechanisms that work best for you.

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