Women’s Health

 Managing Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress graphic

The holidays present an enormous array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. This can present an uninvited guest – Stress!

Too often we take holiday stress for granted. What’s worse, we often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year. Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, and — in some cases — depressed. When the realities of day-to-day life conflict with our efforts to make the holiday season perfect, stress results.

With some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

Are your expectations for the holidays realistic? What do you expect from yourself and your family?

Here are some suggestions for avoiding stress:

Gift Buying

  • Develop and stick to a budget
  • Ask people for what they would like
  • Shop early
  • Consider a family grab-bag to reduce the number of people you need to shop for

Planning Entertainment

  • Buy prepared foods instead of cooking from scratch
  • Ask others to bring part of the meal
  • Prepare foods ahead of time
  • Consider catering all or part of the food for the event

Planning time with Family and Friends

  • Simplify commitments. Revisit traditions to evaluate what is most important.
  • Allow time for yourself to do things that you enjoy
  • Consider visiting some friends and family just after the holidays
  • Don’t overschedule yourself
  • Travel after rush hour, when possible

Exercise Moderation

  • Avoid overeating and overdrinking
  • Avoid starving yourself to indulge at parties – it just leads to overeating.
  • Continue to exercise
  • Be sure to get your rest
  • Don’t take everything on yourself. Ask others, including children, to help with chores.
  • Learn to say “no”.

Should stress appear anyway, here are some suggestions to address it.

Eat well

  • Reduce intake of caffeine, alcohol and refined sugars
  • Take in more anti-oxidant foods such as greens and colorful berries
  • Try to keep to your regular schedule of meals

Exercise – Shaking and Dancing

  • As published here: https://cmbm.org/blog/5-ways-relieve-stress/, exercise is a great way to relieve stress and release endorphins. Any exercise is great, and this is a particular technique used in disaster areas where stress is high. “Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders relaxed, and shake your whole body for a few minutes (we recommend 7-8 minutes). Then, stop for a minute or two and pay attention to your breathing and physical sensations. Finally, turn on fast music – anything that gets you energized, and allow the music to move you. Don’t feel the need to follow any specific dance moves, just do whatever feels good for you in the moment (it might help to close your eyes). Dance for about 5 minutes, or until you feel satisfied.”

Get Sufficient Rest

  • As hard as it may be in this busy time, get adequate rest
  • Disconnect from technology an hour or so before bed time
  • Use relaxation techniques or yoga, if necessary, to prepare yourself for sleep

Take control of the holidays

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.