The chaos of the holiday season can bring unwelcomed guests – stress and anxiety. The holidays are filled with an array of demands that include – cooking and baking, shopping for gifts, cleaning, and entertaining all while regular day to day life continues. During this time, your emotional wellbeing can be in distress more than ever. How do you combat stress and anxiety that sneaks up on your emotional wellbeing during the holidays?
When stress and anxiety is at its threshold, it can be hard to regroup your thoughts. The Mayo Clinic has multiple tips to prevent holiday stress. Here are our top five:
- “Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones for other reasons, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children or other relatives can’t come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or meet virtually on a video call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese, or drinks.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
- Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include:
- Taking a walk at night and stargazing
- Listening to soothing music
The Center for Health & Wellbeing’s Community Education offering holds a plethora of different opportunities to help create a safe space for your emotional wellbeing. This holiday season, participate in our How to Increase Happiness & Reduce Holiday Stress program on Wednesday, November 30 from 11:00 AM to Noon with licensed mental health counselor, Jill Hamilton Buss. You’ll explore what a “Happy Holiday” means to you. You will also learn to recognize change during the holidays – family roles, personal, and traditions. Buss mentions that during the program, “you’ll learn three evidence-based happiness-boosting, stress-reducing strategies that will add to your well-being during the session and every time you employ them during the holidays and for years to come.” Register for this program and others by visiting our Community Education offering calendar.
Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. (2020, December 11). Mayo Clinic. http://bit.ly/3Evm6oq