It is no secret that while the holidays can be a fun time, they can also be extremely stressful. The pressure of buying good gifts on a tight budget, traveling to see family, dealing with the drama of said family can all take a toll on your mental well-being. So how do you deal with holiday stress? What’s the secret?
The Stress of the Holidays
We all cope with stress differently, some healthier than others. But coping with stress is a part of life, and the sooner we can learn to accept, deal with, and overcome stress, the sooner we can start to feel like ourselves. And nothing quite made people more on edge and stressed than the holidays. So should you cope with holiday stress?
Just because it’s the holiday season does not mean you have to be happy. Christmas doesn’t erase seasonal depression, anxiety, or whatever else you might be battling. You wouldn’t tell someone who lost a loved one to be completely joyous during their first holiday without that person. We all have stuff we are going through, and it’s okay not to be okay.
Connect with Others
I may be an introvert, but nothing helps me handle stress better than hanging out with the people I care about, and that does not mean just hanging out with family, especially if they cause your stress. Instead, link up with a friend and lean on them. Having support can wash away that feeling of loneliness and isolation that stress seems to bring along.
We have all watched a Hallmark Christmas movie or two, and while they can be entertaining, they can also raise somewhat unrealistic expectations for the holidays. Not everyone will find true love in a small town or reconnect with family. However, going into the holiday season with a realistic perspective of what to expect can help you manage the stress that comes.
Honestly, the thing that causes me the most stress during the holidays is money. Even if I have money set aside for traveling or gifts, there is still an impending dread hanging over me. If there were ever a month to truly stick to a budget, it would be December. Accepting your limit and living within your means can help alleviate any stressors in your life. Money doesn’t buy you happiness, even though it can feel like it does, but the things you buy give you a boost of serotonin that disappears soon after your purchase.
The unknown can be a huge stressor for some. I like having a plan; otherwise, I will sit around doing nothing, which will only spiral my thoughts. Having a plan on what days you are going to go shopping, hanging out with friends, or whatever Christmas activities you do can take away the unknown stressor.
I don’t know about you, but there is always something going on with my family. People are always planning different activities, and as a homebody, it can get a bit overwhelming at times. Learning to say no when you don’t feel like going somewhere or doing something can lead to a better time during the holidays. FOMO might be a thing, but so is resentment. There have been times when I said yes to something, and when it came time to go out, I immediately regretted it, which led to a horrible time. Know yourself.
Don’t Mess Up Your Good Habits
It’s so hard to start good habits but easy to break them, especially when we feel stressed. It’s so easy to slip back into a version of ourselves we don’t like or have outgrown. It can be hard to stick to your daily routine when traveling for the holidays; eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep. So it would help if you found ways to implement pieces of your routine in some ways. For example, if you can’t go to the gym, then look up an at-home workout. Find small ways to bring along your normal so you can’t combat whatever stressors arise.
Stress is Hard
Stress can sort of feel like those moments when you are sick, and you would give anything in the world to be able to breathe through your nose again or to stop puking your guts out. It can feel overwhelming and haunting at times, but unlike when you are sick, there are some things you can do to help alleviate and overcome stress. Hopefully, the tips above come in handy if you find yourself needing them.
Read more on dealing with the stress of being independent.