The holidays can be an exciting time of year, full of cozy vibes, time with people we love, and a bunch of time off from work. However, all of the hustle and bustle of this time of year can lead to increased stress for lots of folks. The holidays can be tricky for all kinds of reasons: they’re financially demanding, family dynamics are complicated, and to top it all off the weather is usually less than ideal. If you find yourself stressed at the thought of the holidays this year, don’t worry, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of pressure to make the holidays “perfect”, but keep in mind that nothing is ever perfect.
Increased stress levels can lead to all kinds of issues. You might experience digestive problems, weight gain or loss, increased anxiety, depressive episodes, and burnout (among other things).
Take some time to yourself
One of the biggest sources of stress during the holiday season is family. Families are complicated, and it might be a bit too much pressure to spend the entire holiday with them. Find a way to take some time to yourself during the holidays so you have some time to decompress. Try having some quiet time in your room or go for a walk if you need ideas.
Make fun plans for yourself
Similar to the first point, give yourself something to look forward to. If all you have to anticipate is the holiday celebration you’re dreading, you might build it up to be worse than it actually is. Go ahead and make some fun plans during the holidays with people who make you feel good about yourself. Go see a movie, explore holiday decorations, finish up some shopping, go to a spa – the list is really endless.
Rely on your support system
Sometimes just venting can be enough to get us through our frustration. Tell your friends and the rest of your regular support system that you’re anticipating a tough holiday season. You can ask them to check in on you regularly if you think you’ll need it. If you have a family member you’re close to, you can stick together during the holidays for moral support.
Maintain your boundaries
Learning how to say no is so hard, but it’s a fantastic way to set boundaries. Saying no isn’t the only way you can have boundaries, of course. Before the holidays arrive, make a list of things that stress you out about this time of year. What do these have in common? Try to determine what your boundaries are before you are in the situation so you know where you stand.
Know that this too shall pass
In the grand scheme of things, the holidays are just a few days out of the year. Of course, they are days that are considered especially significant, but they’re still just days. You don’t have to participate in any certain way. They will eventually pass, and you can escape the holiday funk until next year.
The holidays always come up so quickly, and they’re usually a mad rush of stress and wrapping paper. You don’t have to dread the holiday stress that comes every year – you can make a plan to help manage your stress so you’re ready when the holidays hit. If you need help making a plan, our therapists can help!