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November 25, 2019

‘Tis the Season for… STRESS

By Alies Barton, MSW, LCSW


While the holiday season can bring joy it can also bring on a lot of stress. There is so much to do and expectations of what the holidays “should” look like can be high. Sometimes we place these expectations on ourselves or sometimes they are coming from others. It is the season of family, decorations, parties, shopping, cooking, baking, entertaining and cleaning. It is normal to feel overwhelmed during this time.

Ways to prevent holiday stress:

  • Acknowledge your feelings – Take a minute to check in with yourself throughout these next few weeks and be in tune with how you are feeling. The more you are aware of your feelings, the easier they are to manage.
  • Be realistic and let go of perfection – It is really hard to get things just right and the majority of time, perfection is unrealistic. Try to let go when something doesn’t turn out as planned. Practice telling yourself “I did my best and my best is good enough.”
  • Set aside differences – This applies to family. Differences in opinions and values amongst family members can create a hostile environment. If possible, try to set aside those differences and focus on the present moment.
  • Set a budget – We tend to spend a lot of money during the holidays and this can be financially stressful. Take a moment to sit down and look over your finances. Set a budget that you feel comfortable following.
  • Be comfortable with saying No – It is normal to overcommit during the holidays. Be realistic with yourself and don’t overwhelm yourself by overscheduling.
  • Don’t forget about yourself – Make sure you take time for self care. Whether that means a hot bath, a nap, time for meditation, time spent with family, or watching your favorite TV show, remember to schedule it.
  • Keep up healthy habits – Exercise and eating healthy foods in between all those indulgent parties can help. When you do indulge, don’t beat yourself up for it, enjoy it!
  • Seek help if you need it – If the stress is too much, seek professional help to learn new coping strategies.
  • Try to think positively – When you think negatively your body’s stress hormones are triggered and this makes things feel more overwhelming. If you catch a negative thought pattern, challenge it with a positive thought instead.

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