Holidays can be such a great time. It’s the end of a year, with the promise of a new one as well as a time to celebrate our loved ones. On the other side of the coin though, holiday stress can eat away at your mental health.
This could be as a result of many reasons such as the pressure to have the best time ever, or the frantic activities exacerbating existing stresses or triggering anxieties. Not to mention it could mean for some, having to navigate complicated family dynamics or highlighting the absence of a loved one.
While there are certain variables that are out of our control, here are some techniques to help you stay holiday stress free during the holidays:
Stick to a budget
Holiday season can cause a lot of financial stress. There’s pressure to buy gifts for everyone, which can really add up. Not to mention, there’s also decorations, food, drinks and travelling that you have to pay for.
While it can help to save up towards the holiday season, another way to ease the financial burden of the holiday season is to create and stick to a budget. Doing so may mean that you’ll have to get creative with your thinking. Try sticking to items that won’t exceed your budget so that you’re not strapped for cash at the end of it. Fortunately, there’s so many great homemade gift ideas that you can consider putting under the tree!
If you want to avoid the situation of disportioncate gifts, in terms of monetary value, then work with your family and friends to set a budget. This will ease the financial and social stress. Another method is to instead do a secret santa with a set limit so that you only have to bring gifts for your chosen name.
Having unrealistic expectations during the holiday season means that you could be potentially setting yourself up for disappointment—whether it’s on the days, people, or executing a perfect day. One way to manage this is to recognize the fact that things may not go according to plan, no matter how hard you try, and that this is okay. It doesn’t mean that the holidays are ruined or that it went terribly.
By enjoying the present moment, not sweating the small stuff and re-evaluating your expectations, you may find that the holiday stress is much more manageable.
There’s always so much to do during the holiday season. It can really feel overwhelming, especially with pressure to say yes to everything so as to not disappoint anyone. It could mean attending every event you’re invited to, taking on extra tasks, hosting events or buying more presents.
It can be really hard to do so but say no to certain demands that you don’t want to do. It can be really easy to constantly think about other people, but during the holiday season (and all year round), it’s just as pivotal, if not more, to think of yourself and prioritize your own health and wellbeing. In this case as well, sometimes doing less is more and you’ll actually be able to enjoy yourself at the fewer events you attend or tasks you have to do.
If you don’t want to say no, then look for alternatives that could make your life easier. For example, instead of being the only one to cook and clean at the holiday lunch at your place, consider a caterer to minimize cleaning and time spent in the kitchen and planning your meals. If not, then make your lunch or dinner potluck style, so that the food and/or drinks are taken care of without having to prepare and cook hours before.
Include time for yourself
When it comes to your holiday season planning, make sure that you include some much needed time for yourself. Whether it’s so you can get some extra shut-eye, read a book, take a walk or any other activities that help to calm and relax you.
Even just squeezing in 15-30 minutes a day of ‘me-time’ can really make a difference in easing the holiday stress and giving you time to recuperate and have a breather.
Seek professional help
If you’re constantly being plagued with worries and holiday stress and it’s really affecting your mental health, then please seek professional help. It’s extremely common to feel overwhelmed during the holiday season, which can also bring up other feelings such as grief, depression and hopelessness.
Talking to a professional is something very common and can really make a difference in your mental health.
By learning your triggers, such as financial and/or personal demands, you can learn how to best navigate them so you can stay holiday stress free. Whether this means saying no to more people, considering other options to make your life easier, or finding people to talk to that’ll lift the weight off your shoulders.