The holidays are meant to be a joyous time, a time for communal celebration and much-needed rest, but oftentimes the season has the opposite effect on people. There are a number of potentially contributing factors to this “holiday stress”, which are listed below, but you can take solace in knowing that there also many ways to allay that stress.
This article will look at a few of the common stress triggers surrounding the season, as well as what you can do to remain calm, cool and collected.
Why Is the Holiday Season So Stressful?
The holiday can be stressful for different reasons, some of which overlap. Do you see yourself in any (or all) of the follow reason?
- Money worries surrounding gifts, entertainment, etc.
- Family visitation, which can obviously cause distress
- Outsized expectations for the holidays that aren’t met
- The loss of private time, and the feeling that you need to attend everything
- A busy schedule, including work, shopping and socializing.
To tackle holiday stress, you have to tackle the individual stressors. Here are a few ways to go about it.
Develop a Budget
If money is a primary concern during the holiday, make a holiday budget. Create a financial category for “the holidays” with a reasonable amount of money, and manage your spending, entertaining and socializing to keep on track with that amount. This may require some saving in advance, but you will be rewarded with a greater sense of financial ease.
Be Proactive With Treating Your Stress
If you know that you are the type of person that, no matter what, is going to be affected by the holidays, be proactive about prevention: talk to your doctor, talk to a psychiatrist, get more sleep, drink cannabis infused teas to relax, and try to avoid substance stressors like alcohol and coffee.
Set Realistic Expectations
Despite companies advertising to the contrary, the holidays aren’t guaranteed to make you happy. They aren’t always the platonic ideal of a family gathering around a perfectly cooked meal, or singing carols in the light snow or excitedly opening a mountain of gifts in a lovely house. Set your expectations realistically, and count your blessings where you get them.
Carve Out Some Private Time
Not everyone does well with an endless parade of social events. Introverted types, and even extroverts, need some time to decompress every now and again. Just as you budget your money, budget your time, carving out as many hours as you feel you need in order to make your way calmly to January 1st.
Consider Avoiding What Triggers Your Stress
Do hangovers cause you undue anxiety? Consider drinking less during the holidays? Does inviting family over to your house fill you with dread? Consider suggesting a different location. Do holiday movies about ideal families make you sad or angry? Turn off the TV. Stressors can’t always be controlled, but you can try your best. This holiday season, give yourself the gift of relaxation. Investigate what stresses you, and do your best to avoid or manage it.