Tips for Managing Holiday Stress
The season of giving is meant for gifts and holiday cheer, but it can also create stress.
"Practicing gratitude, while setting realistic limits and expectations for yourself, are some of the best ways to find peace and joy during the holidays," said DeAnn Collins, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Program Manager at Health First's Senior Behavioral Wellness Intensive Outpatient program.
Collins has provided some tips she recommends to prevent holiday stress:
Reframing family interactions - Over the holidays, relatives offering food and alcohol can distract you from your health goals. Before getting frustrated with family, re-frame those interactions into positive ones. Your mom is probably offering you another piece of cake because she loves you and wants to enjoy your company - not because she wants to get in the way of your health and fitness goals. It's essential to keep gratitude at the top of your mind during these types of interactions.
Stay active - Staying active during the holidays can drastically reduce holiday-related stress. While the holidays are time for relaxation, try to do one form of exercise a day, even if it's just a quick walk.
Build a budget - Reduce financial stress by creating a budget for holiday shopping. Keep in mind that homemade gifts or desserts are considered meaningful and often affordable.
Seek professional help if you need it - Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or mental health professional.
Plan ahead - Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That will help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.