If the thought of the holiday season makes your stomach turn, you aren’t alone. Although a time for joy, the holidays can also be a major source of stress. All the gift buying, cooking, card writing, planning, and family drama can make your head feel like it is going to explode. It is one of the most stressful times of the year.
There are ways to reduce some of that holiday stress, and also some healthy ways to tackle it before it becomes too overwhelming. Don’t let the holidays get you down this year. Here are some tips from us at Rooted & Rising:
1.) Plan Ahead
A big cause of holiday stress is the feeling that you are not in control. Everything is out-of-control—spending, the schedule, to-do lists, etc. The best way to reduce stress is to plan, plan, plan. Create a budget and a list for gifts ahead of time so you are in control of how much is spent, and what you are buying. Determine who is hosting the holiday gatherings early enough that you can properly plan food and accommodations. Cookies and breads can freeze well. Consider cooking them early to get a head start.
2.) Don’t Forget About Your Health
It can be easy to let personal health habits fall by the wayside during the holiday season, but that only makes us feel worse. Make sure you are continuing to get enough sleep, try to fit in exercise whenever possible. Try to stick to your regular diet and not overindulge in all those baked goods and comfort foods. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Overdoing it will only increase stress and anxiety levels. You need to feel your best so you can operate at your best.
3.) Find Time for You
Don’t cancel your regular yoga class, massage, facial, or relaxing night out with friends because of holiday plans, you need that time to refresh yourself. Make sure you are fitting in time to relax and do the things that you love. Self-care is not selfish, it is necessary.
4.) Lower Your Expectations
The picture-perfect holiday season does not exist and trying to create it will only cause you enormous amounts of stress. Let go of the high expectations and instead do what makes you happy. Not everyone’s pie is worthy of a magazine cover, and that is perfectly ok.
5.) Learn to say “No”
You do not have to do everything. If you are feeling overwhelmed or spread too thin then turn down the party invitation. Instead of worrying about all the cooking, order in. If the gift exchange is getting you down, suggest that you skip it or go for a simpler option. It is perfectly ok to say “no.”
6.) Set Boundaries
Everyone has their own boundaries. During the holidays, especially, those boundaries can be tested with all the time with friends and family. Let your boundaries be known. Make certain topics off-limits, suggest a neutral meeting location, whatever it is that makes you comfortable. This year with the Covid-19 pandemic people have very different opinions of what is ok and what is not. If you are uncomfortable getting together with family then let people know your feelings and permit yourself to sit this one out.
7.) Connect With Those You Love
Human connection is a healthy part of life. The holidays are about spending time with the people that make us happy. Let go of toxic relationships. You don’t have to spend time with anyone who makes you unhappy. If you are choosing to celebrate from the comfort of your own home, consider connecting with others using technology.
8.) Get Help
If stress, anxiety, or other troubles are getting you down, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can help to provide coping tools that fit your life.
Ready to begin counseling in PA?
The professionally trained and licensed counselors at Rooted & Rising Therapy in Bridgeville have openings. Our practice specializes in treating individuals through years of experience, we’re confident that no problem is too great to overcome. Through therapy, there is always a way to address the issues you face and learn coping strategies to help you both right now and in the future. Just call our office at (412) 228-8489 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started to feeling better today. We are here for you.