Dealing with Holiday Stress

By December 24, 2012Miscellany

Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress 

Stress during the holidays is not much different from regular everyday stress, but the holidays can intensify stress as there is an intensified focus on family, relationships and finances. Stress shows up in our health, jobs and relationships and can be exacerbated by additional stressors and conflicts, so it is really important to manage stress well, especially during the holidays.

Holiday Stress Triggers
Grief and sadness related to the loss of loved ones or relationships
Money/Career Stress
Family and Relationship Stress
Feeling overwhelmed, pressured, burdened with extra demands

Tips for Managing Stress
1. Remove the stressors
2. Change the way we react to stressors.

We can use very simple and practical cognitive and behavioral strategies for dealing with stress.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stressors

  • Set and manage good boundaries.
  • Limit exposure to negative, toxic thinking, situations, people and environments.
  • If dealing with depression and/or grief, avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and may offer very temporary relief, but the rebound causes a horrible crash intensifying depression and anxiety. It also exacerbates mental health issues.
  • Avoid wallowing in negative thinking and emotions, powerlessness and victim thinking.
  • Let go of the things that do not serve you well.

Change Your Reactions to Stress

  • Reframe stressful situations.
  • Tap into your wisdom, intuition and wiser emotional self.
  • Don’t resist negative thoughts and feelings, but honor them and send them on their way as they likely do not serve you well. Then focus and celebrate the positive and what you are grateful for. Remember what we resist persists, so it does you no good and it has been shown to be bad for your health to try to ignore, avoid or pretend to not have negative thoughts and feelings. Honor them and move on to better things.
  • If you are feeling lonely, spend time with supportive friends and loved ones. Host a dinner, party or event. Get out and meet new people.
  • Practice good, loving self care. Be very kind to yourself and be kind to others. Practice self soothing techniques and rituals–meditation, great music, candles, relaxing bath, exercise. Exercise increases happy, feel good chemicals. Natural supplements such as 5HTP to help with depression and L-Theanine can be helpful for anxiety. Get good sleep. My favorite sleep supplements are Melatonin and a product called “SLEEP” by Jarrow.
  • Don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling more than usual or it feels like more than you can handle, reach out to your supports. Recruit support from friends and family, your church, spiritual center, advisers, mentors or a therapist to help you talk through and sort through stressors.
  • Create a Holiday Planner. Organize and delegate tasks. Manage your time and priorities effectively. Get all of the buzzing ideas, stuff and stressors out of your head and on paper. You will likely find that it is much clearer and easier to deal with and it relieves the monster in your head.
  • Enjoy the simple things and don’t get caught up in the grind, the unrealistic expectations that surround the holidays. It is perfectly okay to set your own boundaries and celebrate in whatever way pleases you and to create your own peaceful way of celebrating that is unique to you. Forget about the “shoulds” and do it your way!

Happy Holidays to you and your families. Wishes for a peaceful, joyful holiday season and life! Much love and blessings to you,

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