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Managing Stress during the Holidays

By: Wieke von Scheidt
 
holiday_stress

Photo Credit: Holiday Stress

 

It’s this time of the year again, Thanksgiving has just passed, Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s is not too far behind either. This can be a very stressful time for families – holiday parties, Christmas shopping, cookie exchanges, and the pressure of New Years Eve plans. With people having all kinds of obligations, November and December are two of the busiest months of the year. That’s why it is important to learn how to manage stress during this time. Here are some tips to help you remain sane.

Plan ahead

Got parties to plan, guests to invite and dinners to organize? Why wait till the last minute? I know it’s hard to get into holiday mood and start planning when Halloween is still two weeks out, but it will take a lot of pressure off of you later. Get your Calendar out, pick some dates, invite guests early, plan your menus, and make a shopping list. If you plan ahead you don’t have to worry about having multiple things on your plate at the same time. Once the organizational part is over, you can sit back, relax a little and start thinking about Christmas gifts. People are also more likely to be able to attend your festivities if you invite them early; most likely their calendar is still empty.

Make a list

If you are one of those last minute shoppers it is no wonder that you are stressed out. Buying gifts takes some thought, especially when you have a big family. Last minute shopping only adds to your stress level because shopping Malls are jam packed with people hurrying to get the last minute presents, just like you. Even if you are jumping into the turmoil with a calm attitude, which I doubt, considering Christmas is only a couple days away, the atmosphere of rush and impatience will rub off on you as soon as you step foot into that Mall. So why do we want to do this to ourselves? Again, plan ahead and make a list early. One of the things I do that helps me get my Christmas shopping done early is listening to friends and family year round and taking note about their complaints regarding a product or a mention of something they want. This way, when Christmas or even birthdays roll around, I always have something handy.

Stick to a budget

Money is probably one of the main factors leading to stress. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot or not you want to have a budget no matter what. Not only for presents but also for the holiday parties you are throwing and those you are attending. So before you go shopping for presents and food decide how much money you have to spend and don’t go over your budget. If you have some money left over from that budget, stick it into a family piggy bank or give back to your community by making a donation. This will not only make someone else happy, it will also make you feel great.

 Leave the planning to someone else

You have been the one planning all the holiday parties, making meal plans and inviting everyone for the past, you cannot even remember how long. Let someone else take charge for once. Ask one of your family members to move Thanksgiving or Christmas to their house this year. “We go overboard to please others during the holidays: shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event,” says George Pratt, PhD, a psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California. “Instead, take care of yourself by saying no at least once—and maybe more.”

 

 Coping with the Holiday Blues

It’s not unusual to feel sad or depressed during this time of the year. Instead of the joy we are expecting to feel, loneliness often overcomes us when, for instance, thinking of loved ones we have lost. Emotions like that are only normal and need to be recognized as such, especially when still in the grieving period. During this time it is important to stay busy and spent time with the people we care about and who care about us. Try out something new, volunteer, or do something active. Under significant circumstances it may help to seek professional help.

No matter what the case may be that’s adding to your stress level, make a change and learn to manage it better. That way you can really enjoy the holiday period.

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