Stress can quickly become the culprit for ruining your holidays when it’s not properly managed which is why the holidays are such a common time to seek out tips for coping with it.
Entertaining guests, shopping for the perfect gifts, worrying about money, and cooking the perfect holiday meal can all make for a stressful time. Not to mention the added pressures of our current world dealing with COVID-19.
Top Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress
Rather than taking the brunt of the ‘holiday blues,’ be proactive with these tips for coping with stress over the holidays. You'll be able to better manage the stress that goes along with the holidays and maybe even start to enjoy them!
Recognize What You’re Feeling
A big part of managing your stress is recognizing exactly what it is you're feeling.
If something traumatic has happened in your life, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed with sadness or grief. Recognize that it’s okay to have these feelings and that it’s perfectly normal to express them as well.
Just because it’s the holiday season, it doesn’t mean that your feelings should take the back burner. Try to understand where they are coming from so that you can better know how to manage them moving forward.
Learn more about navigating emotional hardship in this post.
Be Truthful with Yourself
One of our best tips for coping with holiday stress is be truthful with yourself. The holidays are going to look different each year, and this year more than ever, it’s important to be realistic with your expectations.
As time goes on, family members grow up and certain traditions will fade. Allow yourself to let go of some of those traditions and learn to enjoy the ones that stay.
Sometimes change just means being adaptable, as well. Rather than dwelling on the fact that a certain family member won’t be home for the holidays, find ways to reach them. A video call or recorded video can go a long way when it comes to feeling close and keeping tradition alive.
Your ability to adapt is closely related with resilience. We share six ways you can build emotional resiliency in this post.
Take a Step Back
A lot of holiday stress comes from the big expectations that go along with it. Consider which activities you can do without for the year, or think about how you can do them on a smaller scale.
For example, maybe you usually bake a box of holiday cookies for everyone in the neighborhood each Christmas. This year, consider making a smaller batch for just you and your family to enjoy.
Chances are your neighbors won’t mind and your mental health will thank you. It is top priority after all!
Set Priorities and Make a Schedule
With so many ‘to-dos’ it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Think about what holiday activities are most important to you and which ones have the most positive impact on your life.
Remember: anything that doesn’t have a positive impact on your life is most likely an activity you can do without.
Pick your favorites and enjoy those the most!
You might also put all of those priorities into a schedule to see if you might be spreading yourself too thin. Sometimes bouncing from one activity right to the next can take away from your ability to enjoy them.
Eliminate the less important holiday activities and take your time with the ones you choose to prioritize.
Take Deep Breaths
Although this might seem like one of the more obvious tips for coping with stress, deep breaths can make a huge difference. Taking a deep breath allows your body to receive the oxygen that it needs to function. This then helps to reduce your negative stress.
(We talk more about the different types of stress in this article)
Try to imagine taking in deep breaths of peacefulness and breathing out all of your negative stress. A complete breathing meditation can also be great for taking this coping technique further.
Set a Budget and Stick to it
If the majority of your stress is coming from financial reasons, then it's important to set a budget for spending over the holidays. Gifts, food, and activities can add up quicker than you might think!
Decide how much money you can afford to spend and write out a budget for each element of the holidays.
Things you might do to cut costs are homemade gifts, a secret Santa gift exchange, or completing volunteer work in place of gifts.
Stick to Healthy Habits
The holidays are a time where many throw out their healthy habits for copious amounts of food and relaxation. While it’s certainly great to relax over the holidays, it’s always best to keep up with healthy habits.
Starting your day off with a healthy breakfast, getting your workout in, or even going for a daily walk can make all the difference for how you feel.
Use Stress Management Tools
Sometimes incorporating a stress management tool into your routine is the best way to cope with stress over the holidays. Xen by Neuvana is a fantastic tool that can help with stress management. It works to relieve stress and promote emotional stability through vagus nerve stimulation.
Mild electrical pulses follow the beat of your music and stimulate the vagus nerve. Then, this sends messages to the brain to generate calming sensations in the body and allows you to enter into a relaxed state.
That's right: vagus nerve stimulation can make holiday stress more manageable and helps your body to recover from stressful events!
Take Control and Enjoy Your Holidays
It’s likely you won’t be able to tackle all of your holiday stress overnight. But with these tips for coping, you can certainly get a good start!
Always think about what brings you the most happiness over the holidays and try to get the most out of those particular moments. It could be baking cookies with your child, or going on a walk surrounded by the fresh winter air.
Whatever it is, focus in on it and try to enjoy the time you have with family and friends.
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