Managing Holiday Stress
Tools for Tackling Holiday Stress
Plan Ahead: Get ahead of the stress by putting together schedule for holiday plans, trips, meals, and shopping. Select menus, recipes, and create grocery lists ahead of time – saving yourself a frantic trip to the store the day before an event. Create a holiday shopping list and budget to help mitigate some of the anxiety about overspending. You may not be able to plan for everything, but by creating some structure you can focus on taking one week or day at a time – avoiding feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling your entire holiday to-do list in one go.
Don’t Over-Commit: Feeling stretched too thin? Don’t over-extend yourself or bend over backwards for things or people that are not a priority. Know your limits and stick to your guns. It is okay to say no.
Ask for Help: Even with the best intentions and meticulous planning we can sometimes end up with too much on our plates. If you feel you’re struggling, reach out. Ask your partner, a friend, or a family member to help pick up some of the slack. Don’t feel too embarrassed to ask for help.
Lean on Healthy Coping Strategies: Set yourself up for success and keep your moods stable by using healthy coping strategies. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Make time to stay active and get outside. Schedule some time for self-care to decompress: take a walk outside, splurge on a nice cup of coffee, take a long bath, or treat yourself to a massage. Make healthy choices. During the holidays we expect to overindulge, but balance is key (for both your mental and physical health). Enjoy that slice of pumpkin pie, but keep your fridge stocked with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Be Thankful: Spend a few moments each day thinking about your blessings. What are you thankful for? Practice your ‘attitude of gratitude’ by focusing on what you have rather than what you feel you’re lacking. Shifting your perspective and remembering the things you have to be thankful for will help you stay grounded, positive, and in the holiday spirit.
Focus on What Matters: Try to let go of the fantasy of a “perfect” Thanksgiving or Christmas. Enjoy spending time with your family, and focus on taking each day at a time. Things may not go to plan, and that’s okay! Remember the 5 by 5 rule: if it’s not going to matter in 5 years – don’t spend more than 5 minutes on it now.