Stress Management Tips During For the Holidays

Published On: December 5, 2023Categories: Holidays, Mental Health

Many people enter into the holiday season with some trepidation – stress always threatens to overwhelm those planning, shopping and organizing during the holiday season. And it’s challenging because this is supposed to be a time of year full of peace, joy and celebration.  

But when the tension of it all begins to mount and the stress gets overwhelming, the holidays can quickly lose their charm and turn into a time of anxiety and frustration. 

Learning to manage and mitigate these emotions can help us not simply survive the holidays, but allow us to enjoy and fully enter into the celebrations of this brief season. 

Managing holiday stress

When it comes to handling the holidays, it is crucial to remember there is only so much you can do. You cannot change difficult family members or prevent them from bringing up politics at the dinner table; you can’t magically make more money appear in your account in order to give exquisite gifts; and you can’t host every party perfectly.

But you can control your responses to difficult aunts and uncles, to limited funds and to parties that don’t go according to plan. And by controlling your emotions, you can better manage your stress – in other words, you can keep these potential stressors from getting the best of you.

Tips for handling holiday stress

You likely know the ways you are best able to manage stress in your life, including what helps you cope and stay sane during moments of high anxiety. But in case you need a little extra help this holiday season, we’ve compiled a list of stress management tips for you. 

Don’t be afraid to say no

When we overcommit ourselves by promising to attend this party, host that gathering and run these errands, we can very quickly worsen stress levels. Therefore, it is important for your peace of mind to assess what you can feasibly do before agreeing to more. 

Do you actually have the resources to host a work party? Do you have enough PTO to travel this holiday? Is there really enough time to bake multiple batches of cookies?

If you take a moment to think through before committing, you might find that, even though you would like to, it is not realistic for you to say yes. Give yourself permission to say “no,” and see if that doesn’t help mitigate some of the holiday tension you’ve been experiencing. 

Set and stick to boundaries

If you don’t have some solid boundaries set up to help you manage the holidays, you will begin to quickly feel taken advantage of and possibly disrespected; but it’s easily avoidable.

When entering into the holidays, take a little time to determine your boundaries (after all, you can’t uphold them if you don’t know what they are). Maybe you won’t allow certain conversations at the dinner table due to their potentially triggering nature – so, when a relative brings up said controversial topic, you uphold your boundary by changing the topic or blatantly saying, “This is not an appropriate discussion during Christmas dinner.” 

Or, maybe you’ve determined you only have time/money for two Christmas parties this year – so you choose which ones you plan to attend and then politely decline any other invitations. If you’ve already set this boundary for yourself ahead of time, you won’t be left feeling pressured when more invitations come rolling in; you know you have time for two and that’s it.

Prioritize your self-care

We don’t necessarily mean you need to start doing routine bubble baths and face masks, although they can be relaxing. What we’re talking about is the self-care that keeps you grounded, including drinking plenty of water, sleeping 7-8 hours each night, eating three balanced meals a day and getting in 30 minutes of exercise. 

If you begin neglecting the basic needs of your body, you’ll begin to feel the increased negative effects of stress, including increased anxiety, irritability and a much shorter bandwidth for handling challenges. If, however, you’re keeping yourself sane with this form of self-care, you’ll be much better equipped to take on any unforeseen stress this season may bring about.

Set yourself deadlines and limits

You don’t want to inadvertently increase stress by getting yourself behind or over the limit. Therefore, before the holidays are in full swing, check in with yourself and ask yourself, realistically, how much time do you need to gift shop? How much time to prepare for hosting family? How much money for gifts for everyone – friends, family and coworkers included?

If you know this ahead of time, you can better set yourself budgets – both financial ones and time management ones – to prevent financial stress and anxiety due to unrealistic expectations. 

Let go of perfectionism

Easier said than done, we know. But letting go of expectations of perfectionism, including wanting to give the perfect gift, host the perfect party, find the perfect outfit, etc. will bring you a lot of peace and release a great amount of tension. 

If you let the holidays simply be what they will be, and give yourself permission to do your best and let go of the rest, you may find an increased sense of joy, and a great ability to enter into the season peacefully.

Need help managing stress?

Whether it’s holiday stress or life-in-general-stress, Tapestry Recovery is here to help you manage all the stressors you encounter. To get in touch with someone who can help today, contact us by calling 111-111-1111 or get in touch through our website.

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