4 Tips for Managing Stress During the Holiday Season

4 Tips for Managing Stress During the Holiday Season

Dec 09 2021

Whether it’s figuring out schedules to arrange a get together or squeezing in last minute shopping, the holiday season often adds responsibilities to your already busy schedule.

Unfortunately, added responsibilities during the holiday season can cause feelings of stress, frustration and anxiety. In addition, the increased time spent with family members can cause additional strain for some. Stress management is an essential element of self-care, and can go a long way toward a healthy lifestyle.

Here are four tips to help you manage stress amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

1. Say No.

When added holiday obligations start to feel overwhelming, it is important to evaluate your to-do list. Having a long list of “to-do’s” is a causes of stress for many adults in the United States. To keep from overextending yourself, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to say no.

Make sure to carve out time for yourself to do the things that make you feel relaxed and happy during this period, whether that’s attending an exercise class, spending time with your loved ones or just resting. Keep self-care as a priority on your list, even though it may feel like you’re disappointing someone if you can’t take on a task. Know your limits and only take on what you have time for.

This will allow you to devote more time and energy to both your loved ones and yourself.

2. Take a Break.

Stress may weigh particularly heavily when you feel like there is outward pressure to finish a task — whether it’s family expectations, a social obligation or a work deadline. If you can’t say no to the stressor, remember that it’s okay to take yourself out of the situation, even if it’s just for a momentary breather. Set down the shopping list or walk away from those dirty dishes for a few minutes.

Meditation can be a great way to re-center and regain perspective when things feel overwhelming. For something more active, go for a walk, do some light stretching, or if you’d prefer just a mental break, maybe read a book or call up a friend. Whatever you do, make sure that it gives you the chance to decompress so that you can go back to the situation with renewed energy and fresh perspective.

3. Check in with Your Body.

While stress may only feel like a mental strain, it can cause adverse physical health risks as well. From high blood pressure to chronic back pain, stress can come with a whole slew of unpredictable symptoms. If you’re feeling stressed, do a quick check-in with your body. Are you sore? Tired? Hungry?

Eating healthy and getting a good night’s sleep are often the keys to long-term stress management.

If that doesn’t do the trick, it might be worthwhile to incorporate some holistic health components into your schedule, especially during the holidays. Massage is a technique used to relieve tension in tight muscles and it can help with neck and back pain, migraines and headaches. Acupuncture, on the other hand, helps increase energy flow throughout your body. Acupuncture can relieve pain, improve sleep and digestion and reduce anxiety.

When your body is well-rested and refueled, it’s much easier to face holiday chaos with positivity and open-mindedness.

4. Get Involved.

Volunteering in your community can be a restorative, mindful way to manage stress. Luckily, the holiday season provides ample opportunity to do some good. Volunteering often provides people with a sense of productivity and gratitude, both of which are integral to managing stress. Furthermore, research shows that regularly volunteering can have significant positive impacts on your mental health. Take a breather from holiday stress and help make the holiday season a little brighter for others. 

While holiday stress is sometimes unavoidable, learning how to manage it is valuable, important, and differs for every person. Figuring out the stress relief techniques that work for you goes a long way toward making happy holiday memories that will last forever.  

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