Group of friends feeling stress on a trip

Most individuals agree that combining family customs, gift-giving, travel arrangements, holiday décor, and delicious foods are the finest parts of the holiday season. But all of these activities can potentially make the holiday season excessively stressful and emotionally draining. 

Numerous studies have shown that the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is the most stressful of the year. This is partly due to the stress brought on by our mounting financial commitments, social obligations, and never-ending to-do lists. 

Here are five tips for maintaining your mental health over the holidays. 

1. Maintain a Few of Your Stressful Routines 

Routines are vital to humans. According to research, maintaining regular, healthy habits like eating healthily, exercising, and getting adequate sleep can help you manage stress, enhance your mental health, and give your life more purpose. 

It’s simple to get off track during the holidays when consuming more food and alcohol than usual. This can affect your biological clock (the sleep-wake cycle) and other crucial bodily processes. 

It’s not a big thing to indulge for a little while, but it can be beneficial to attempt to keep some routines and healthy behaviors when you can. Stress response mechanisms are far more adaptable when your body is well-rested and fed. 

Sleep for at least seven hours each night, drink moderately, and counterbalance the sugary delights with some vibrant fruits and vegetables. If taking sleeping pill is one of your routines, please, by all means, do indulge. Your pills may be the answer to all your troubles.

2. Abandon Perfectionism 

It’s simple to get caught up in the idea of the ideal Christmas gathering, whether you’re counting on all of your travels to go well, worrying about what to get Grandma, or attempting to make up family-size batches of your renowned spiced eggnog. However, adopting an idealistic strategy may leave you disappointed. 

It’s not necessary to make an Instagram-worthy pumpkin pie, decorate your entire home, or purchase everyone the finest or most costly gift. There is a chance that something will go wrong, so expect it. 

No matter how experienced you are at hosting the festivities, this is just the reality of being busy: There are more chances for things to fail when there are more plans. Be gentle and patient with yourself rather than being quick to criticize your flaws so that you can appreciate things as they are. 

Understand that whatever you’re doing now is sufficient. A little self-compassion will go a long way in strengthening our stress resistance and optimism over perceived failures. Allow yourself the luxury of not needing perfection in everything. 

3. Focus On the Good Things 

Because small (and, let’s face it, big) pressures may quickly accumulate around the holidays, it’s essential to set aside some time to appreciate the positive aspects. Every morning when you wake up, list three things—small or significant, recent or ancient—for which you are glad. You’ll be happy you did it. 

According to research, being grateful not only increases joy but also improves stress management. Consider the things that have made you happy, such as your comfortable bed, a cuddly pet, a fulfilling conversation you had, or priceless moments spent with loved ones. 

Savor those happy times as often as possible since they help you rebalance. You’ll be less likely to lose it if your brother-in-law keeps talking over you or if your father keeps sending you back to the store to pick up more ingredients if you regularly practice appreciation. 

4. Find Ways to Help Others 

Helping others when you’re the one who needs it may seem paradoxical, but research reveals that deeds of kindness can lift our spirits and make us feel good. There is no right or incorrect approach to this. 

On Christmas Day, you can volunteer at a food kitchen, but if you don’t have the time or feel that it would add to your already heavy workload, there are other, more manageable ways to give back. 

Let someone ahead of you in line at the store, buy your neighbor a cup of coffee, or hold the door open for a stranger. Even a brief phone chat or text to a good friend might lift your spirits. You can also experience that dopamine rush from those modest acts of kindness and compassion to others. 

5. Take a Break from All the Action 

Throughout the holidays, check in with yourself to see how stressed you are. Take a break if you feel you’ve overstretched yourself or others are stepping over your personal space. Make an effort to schedule some time for a relaxing or mind-organizing activity. Take a break and engage in something revitalizing or restorative. 

Exercise, go for a walk or run, pretend to take a nap, read a book, or tune in to a podcast while you ground yourself. If you can’t manage that, spend a little more time in the shower or practice deep breathing when getting ready. 

Bottom Line 

It goes without saying that the holidays are a time of intense emotions and packed schedules. Don’t be embarrassed to take care of yourself or to ask for assistance. Don’t push yourself past your boundaries; instead, be aware of them.  

You might discover that recognizing your stress and taking action to control it ultimately results in a much more pleasant holiday. If not, then? That’s okay, too—January is only a few weeks away. 

2 thoughts on “5 Easy Ways to Tackle Holiday Stress and Anxiety 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *