Managing Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress

The holidays bring about many positive feelings. Family time including dinners, vacations and cultural and religious celebrations can bring us closer together with loved ones and friends. Nevertheless, we all know with holidays comes stress. Whether it is the myriad of events, holiday parties, dinners, family gatherings, shopping or cooking, sometimes our time away from work is more stressful than work! Here are a few tips and aspects to keep in mind during this very happy and yet stressful time.

  1. 1. Be mindful of how you are feeling. If you are aware of how you feel, you may be able to get through difficult moments more adaptively. When you feel angry, take a moment for yourself and do something to cool down such as watching a clip of a favorite YouTube video. If you are worrying about meeting certain expectations, dinner, shopping, cleaning, ask for help. Be mindful of how you are feeling and take the appropriate steps to reduce negative feelings.
  2. 2. Identify Triggers. If you know that there are specific triggers, having a big dinner, cooking, cleaning, and spending time with a specific family member, take measures to reduce the effects. Meaning, know what makes you upset and take preventive steps to reduce the inevitable frustration and negative feelings that occur.
  3. 3. Make Plans. One mistake we often make is not making plans. Include others and have a “blue print” of how the days are going to go. Inform others and get input which will allow everyone to join and also increase the chances that others will participate. Be understanding if your suggestions are not accepted and the majority would prefer other activities. It is more important that people are spending time together than what they are doing.
  4. 4. Be Flexible. While plans and traditions are important, flexibility is even more important. Families are constantly changing, people move, children grow up and have children of their own. Use a “blue print” to plan, but be prepared to throw the plan out if it causes others too much stress.
  5. 5. Be Healthy. The holidays can be a time of consumption. Try to stick to your typical diet. Get enough sleep. And avoid excessive alcohol use. By maintaining an appropriate level of consumption (food and alcohol), exercising and getting sleep, you will certainly feel better and have more positive interactions with others.
  6. 6. Know your Limits. Be aware of how you are feeling and when you have had enough. Take time to be alone or with one other person. Don’t go overboard regarding anything (e.g. obligations, food and alcohol, having people over). Plan in time for yourself when you are aware of stressful activities and situations.

Time away from work, with family members and during the holidays can be relaxing, fun and help you recharge for the New Year ahead. Find more tips here… http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/MH00030

-ZB