Tips for Less Stress and More Joy This Holiday Season

How to Reduce Stress During the Holiday Season

While most people enter the holiday season with high hopes, realities tend to cause unwanted frenzy and stress. As time and money are stretched thin, people tend to experience heightened stress as they strive to meet unrealistic expectations. Here are some ways you can cope with some common themes that contribute to holiday distress.

  

Don’t expect too much. We all want happy holiday memories filled with gratitude and joy. In the real world, however, there's no foolproof defense against bad moods and personality conflicts. Don't expect to be revered for all the time you spent planning and perfecting your holiday festivities. Remember that true perfection is unattainable, and try to maintain a healthy perspective that will help you cope with adversity and minor disappointments.

  

Streamline your shopping. Try to leverage online shopping platforms to get a jump start on your gift buying. This will help you avoid rushing from store to store at the last moment, searching for the right gifts. You should also stock up on wrapping essentials, including paper, boxes, ribbons and tape. It's usually also a good idea to wrap presents as you buy them, so you won't be overwhelmed with unwieldy wrapping responsibilities at the last moment.

  

Mentally prepare for difficult family members. Be aware of how certain family members may unintentionally or intentionally cause your stress. Avoid touchy subjects that can negatively heighten emotions. If someone starts pushing your buttons, find an excuse to remove yourself from the situation instead of taking the bait. You should also avoid drinking too much alcohol, since this can lower inhibitions and promote overly emotional responses.

  

Keep your mind on the moment. Research has shown that mindful meditation can be an effective way to cope with anxiety, stress, fear, worry, anger and other forms of psychological distress. Even if you don't have a lot of time or patience for meditation, you can still reap the benefits of mindfulness by focusing on the moment. Whether it's the way your feet feel against the ground, the taste of food or the sound of your breathing, when you focus on your sensory experiences, you will be less likely to suffer from stressful chaotic thinking.

  

Budget smartly. It's quite common for people to overspend during the holiday season. Unfortunately, this tends to cause severe stress and worry once the New Year rolls around. Be sure to carefully determine exactly how much you can afford to spend this holiday season. Once you've established a reasonable figure, stick to it. Remember that spending can become habitual. When we start buying items, it can snowball until we have far exceeded our spending limits. Carefully track your spending and be prepared to forgo a gift, even if it seems like a perfect fit for a friend or loved one.

  

Taking Care of Yourself

As we struggle to make the holiday season enjoyable for loved ones, we sometimes put our own needs on the back burner. Unfortunately, when we don't take care of ourselves, we tend to experience increased anxiety and stress. Be sure to prioritize your well-being during the holidays by getting plenty of sleep and exercise. Make sure to eat a nutritious diet and maintain your typical healthy routines, so you will have the energy and outlook you need to plan a happy holiday season.

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