Putting To Rest Holiday Stress


December 26, 2018 | View PDF

For many, the Holiday season is one of joy, camaraderie, and cheer. Unfortunately for others, it can be a time of stress and sadness. While some individuals spend the holidays with family and friends, others may feel secluded and unable to relate due to conflict in the home. While it may feel overwhelming dealing with holiday stress, there are many ways to cope that anyone and everyone can do.

Start with planning ahead. If you know that there are certain commitments you have to make, be sure to plan for them early. Along with making time for those commitments, be sure to plan time for yourself as well. Self-care is an important aspect of a healthy mental and emotional wellness and making time to do activities that you enjoy and relax you can make a huge impact on holiday stress.

After planning ahead, make sure you take time to reflect on all the positives of the year. The holidays spur a lot of major life achievements such as engagements, pregnancy announcements, reunions, etc. and for those that aren’t experiencing those moments, it can feel discouraging. Think about all of the positive things you accomplished or experienced over the year as well as the activities that you enjoyed. While you may reflect these moments internally, it may help to actually write down what you’ve done. Then you can set some achievable and optimistic goals for the upcoming year.

Another aspect of stress during the holidays revolves around finances. Buying gifts, food, drinks, etc. can all add up and put a damper on the holiday season. One way to combat this is to give the gift of time. Your time. Whether it’s volunteering to help clean up after Christmas dinner, or volunteering at a local nursing home or community meal, sometimes the gifts that don’t cost anything mean much more than the ones that do. There are opportunities in your local community to get involved, for example, many places of worship host holiday specific services that are open to all, the Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers to help ring bells around the community, or consider making time for family and friends that you don’t often see. Sharing the holidays with them can often make their holiday season.

While these practices involve planning, it is also important to take the time to center yourself. Specifically, we can often get swept up in the holidays and feel as if we are in constant motion going from one event to another. Be sure to practice mindfulness this holiday season. Take a moment to soak in those instances of joy. Practicing slowing down your breathing to combat being overwhelmed can be a very effective mindfulness tool.

And the most important way you can handle the holiday stress is by finding support. Whether that be a counselor, pastor, friend, family member, or community group, there are people in the community that are there to support you during the holiday season.


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