The holiday season often brings joy to most people, not for everyone, a significant number of people get down and feel stressed during holidays. The reasons are plenty. There are many factors that can trigger stress, agitation, down and out, dreaded bad feelings ranging from remembering the loved ones, a bad experience during the holidays, loneliness, being overwhelmed, or a combination of external and internal factors. There is no one universal reason to holiday blues, since what is depressing or stressful for one person may not be for someone else, and same is for solution, what works for one may not work for another.
In order to resolve and overcome the holiday stress, here are some practical tips which can minimize stress and difficult emotions during holidays:
1. Plan your holidays ahead: Set aside the priorities and avoid impossible goals. Don’t over-schedule yourself. Take enough time to relax and recover after your work and other commitments. Make plans in advance to know how and with whom your holidays will be spent. Uncertainty and putting off decision-making add enormous stress.
2. Take a pause: Find some time for yourself. Researches have shown that spending just 15 minutes alone, without disturbances, has a refreshing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and stress. You may opt any of these options to rejuvenate yourself:
-Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
-Listening to soothing music.
-Getting a massage.
-Reading a book.
3. Ask for help: Seek help from your family and children if you need it. Stop obsessing over doing it all yourself.
4. Avoid Perfectionism: Don’t allow perfectionism to wear you down. Remember to focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life after all it’s being together and goodwill that matters.
5. Stick to your daily routine: Don’t try to squeeze in more during holiday than you can handle. Don’t let your holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to stress and guilt.
6. Reach out: Don’t feel lonely or isolated, seek out companionship and support from community, religious or other social events. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits as helping those in need can help you feel less isolated.
7. Learn to say “NO”: Try to practice to say no in small ways.The word no is extremely powerful and liberating. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feel resentful and overwhelmed. Don’t feel obligated to entertain every relative and friends. Know your limitations and learn how to say “no.”Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. There’s no need to lie or to explain why you can’t participate.
8. Be Flexible: The holidays can be stressful when you have too much to do. Instead of trying to pack multiple family celebrations into a single day or weekend, create a schedule for festive gatherings which will be more convenient for everyone.
9. Abandon old traditions: Be realistic in your celebrations and find new ways to celebrate together. Discuss with your family which traditions are most important to you and to them? why you can’t choose to create new traditions that better fit your current lifestyle? As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.
10. Think positive: The holidays may drive you to your breaking point, but don’t focus on the bad. Negative thinking can trigger the your body’s stress response, just as a real threat does. Remember, it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends (even if they do stress you out!). An optimistic outlook will help you cope with challenges that come your way.
These practical tips may minimize your stress and anxiety, and help you cope. They may help you improve your coping skills so you can get through the holiday season with a smile on your face.