For many people, the holiday season is a time to get together with loved ones, take some vacation time, and look forward to the new year. While this may be an exciting time, it can also be very stressful. To ensure that holiday stress doesn’t get the best of you, it’s important to be aware of the common reasons it develops and how you can properly manage it.
Reasons For Holiday Stress:
So here are some suggestions on how to manage it:
De-stress with a hair mask. Photo by @karlibobarley
1. Create a Schedule
Keeping everything organized leading up to the holidays can be difficult. Between work parties, school events, family get-togethers, and holiday shopping, the list may seem never-ending. To keep your worries at bay, start by formulating a list of all upcoming events you have. From there, prioritize that list to highlight the most important tasks and put those in your calendar first. When you're finished, you can fit in any additional events or tasks where there's free time, but keep in mind that these additions are optional. Color-coding which items are high-priority and which are not will help you stay on track and maintain some peace of mind.
2. Set Boundaries
The holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, some of whom you haven’t seen in a long time. Although reconnecting and partaking in holiday festivities can be great, everyone has their limits. Instead of it being enjoyable, for some, seeing certain toxic family members can be tough. Or in other cases, trying to keep up with every holiday event can become exhausting and unexciting. Setting boundaries will help to limit negative feelings and keep you from overwhelming yourself. Don’t feel obligated to invite someone just because they’re family. Additionally, prioritize what you consider to be the most essential holiday events, as mentioned earlier. Establishing boundaries will protect you from letting the holiday season harm your well-being.
3. Recognize the Physical Signs of Stress
In some instances, stress can present itself in physical ways. For example, stress can alter the way you physically feel, giving you low energy, headaches, an upset stomach, heart palpitations, insomnia, and/or frequent colds. Another example is the ways stress affects your appearance. This commonly includes weight changes, hair loss, worsened skin conditions, and acne breakouts. If you experience any of these physical manifestations of stress, it’s essential that you recognize and care for them appropriately. To help treat those common symptoms, try doing hair masks once a week to make your hair strong and healthy. For your skin, look into treatment products to clear up any skin troubles. In addition to caring for your physical troubles, you can practice relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to reduce your feelings of anxiety.
Fight stress-related skin issues with targeted treatments. Photo by hers.
4. Volunteer to Help Others
Not everyone’s families are healthy and functional and not everyone is able to be with their loved ones during the holiday season. If you’re feeling lonely or haven’t had great experiences with your family during the holidays in the past, volunteering your time to help others can be really rewarding and also provide you with a new kind of togetherness. There are plenty of ways to volunteer during the holidays. Whether it’s donating your items, helping at homeless shelters, visiting those in senior homes, or even working an event for your favorite organization, this will benefit people in more ways than you can even imagine.
5. Share the Responsibilities
You don’t need to be the only one doing everything in order for everyone to be happy. With so much to do, sharing responsibilities will help lighten your load and allow everyone to get involved in making the holidays special. If you’re hosting a celebration at your house, ask everyone to bring a dish so that the entire grocery bill and cooking doesn’t fall on you. Furthermore, make gift shopping a fun experience by doing it with help from your loved ones. You can go shopping with your significant other, parent, best friend, or even children to help get ideas and look around.
6. Budget Ahead of Time (and Stick to It!)
Between gift spending, self-spending, traveling, and the cost of food; Americans roughly spend $30 billion during the holiday season. If that statistic makes you shutter inside, you’re not the only one. To ensure you stay on track with your own budget this season, you’ll want to make it ahead of time. The easiest way to determine a budget is by calculating how much you spent last year. This will give you a realistic idea of how much money you typically spend on different things and help you figure out where you might be able to cut back. After this, you’ll need to figure out how much you’d feel comfortable spending this year and set that as your limit. Break this down into food, parties, gifts, and anything else you find that you spend money on at this time. Be sure to stick to this budget by consistently marking down your spending either in a spreadsheet or through a budgeting app.
Plan ahead by budgeting for your holiday party needs. Photo via Getty Images.
7. Find Free Holiday Activities
Having a great time during the holiday season doesn’t need to add to holiday debt. There are plenty of local holiday activities that are usually free! You can make crafts, drive through neighborhoods with decorated homes, have an at-home holiday movie night, or even go to a winter market. To figure out what free events are available by you, you can search online or look at flyers around local establishments.
8. Stay Active
With the days getting shorter and your schedule becoming busier, exercise is likely the last thing on your mind.However, being consistently active promotes a better mood and helps relieve stress. Luckily, to reap the benefits of physical activity, it doesn’t need to consume too much of your time. It’s ideal to aim for roughly three, 30-minute sessions a week. This can be anything from walking, practicing an at-home workout, or biking. For more ideas on quick workouts, look here.
By Guest Writer
Cover photo by @steph.pollock