Don’t Stress Over the Holidays

Stress Management Tips to Make the Season Bright

How many times have you listened to the lyrics, It’s the most wonderful time of the year” in the popular carol?

It’s supposed to be wonderful, but the holiday season often is a time of stress or even depression.

Whether one is celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve or any other special day, there are plenty of activities and expectations surrounding those joyous events. Family gatherings, parties, baking, shopping, invitation lists, cleaning, entertaining. The preparation and tasks might seem endless and sometimes overwhelming.

As the stress level rises, it’s time to take a step back and regroup. Think back to the reason for the season you’re celebrating. Below are a few tips to help reduce stress and depression during the holiday season:


Acknowledge your feelings

Don’t force it. You don’t have to act like you’re happy and everything is fine just because it’s the holiday season. If someone close to you recently died, or if you can’t be with loved ones, it’s normal to feel grief or sadness.


Reach out to others

If you feel lonely, try to find a group activity or event to participate in during the season. Find a community, religious or social event. Volunteer your time to assist others. These types of activities might lift your spirits and perhaps even lead to a new friendship or two.


Make it real

Set your expectations and goals for the season at a realistic level. Holidays never are perfect, and they don’t have to be “just like last year.” Families and friends change. So, do traditions. Roll with the changes and keep a positive outlook.


That’s the Plan

Follow a plan. Make a schedule. Set aside time to decorate, shop, bake, visit family and friends or to volunteer to help those less fortunate. Put together a holiday menu and make your shopping list. Factor in time to prepare for your party and then clean up.

Budget time and finances

Know how much money you can spend on gifts or party items before you head to the super market or mall. Once you have the budget in place, don’t deviate. It’s difficult, especially at this time of year, but don’t try to purchase happiness and gratitude through gifts you can’t afford.


Set aside differences

As the saying goes, “life is too short” to hold a grudge. Keep the peace and wait until a more appropriate time to discuss a disagreement or old rift. Remember, others probably are under holiday stress too, so show compassion and understanding if someone is upset during your gathering.


Maintain healthy habits

Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “I’ll watch what I eat after the holidays,” or “I’ll stick to the budget once the season is over.” Don’t let the holidays lead you to overindulgence. This only will make you feel worse.


Have a happy holiday

These are just a few healthy tips for the holiday season. If you’re feeling persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, irritable and feeling hopeless, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.