Holiday stress and how to manage it

Holiday Stress and How to Manage It

The holiday season can be a great time for festivities with friends and family but can also bring stress and anxiety to some. There are many reasons for this increase in holiday stress including additional financial burden, overwhelmed schedules with holiday events, social anxiety, and unmet expectations.

Self-care should be a part of our everyday routine but is even more essential during a stressful time of the year like the holiday season! Keep reading to find out how to continue to manage your mental health during the holiday season!

Finding Ways to Manage Your Holiday Stress

Setting boundaries, reminding yourself why you are celebrating the season, and taking some time to yourself are all great ways to beat the holiday stress. Incorporate these strategies into your routine:

  • Stick to your budget: If you are feeling pressure to spend a lot of money on the holidays remind yourself the true meaning of the season. Also create a budget and stick to it to ensure you are not going to feel additional pressure or distress due to debt later.
  • Get rid of the negative: Clean out your email inbox and social media by unsubscribing or unfollowing individuals or corporations who do not serve you. Remember, this is a source of marketing for these companies, and they use psychology to get you to engage in their product. If it does not serve you, don’t allow it to infiltrate your daily feed!

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  • Empower yourself: Empower yourself to be you. Create and list your boundaries before engaging with others who may try to cross them. Also be mindful of other’s boundaries and make sure you are not crossing them. Be mindful of your feelings and acknowledge them in a decompression session if you are having to participate in a specific stressful event.
  • Look for the positives: Find positivity in the season. There is a lot of beauty happening around during the holidays – beautiful trees and decorations, the spirit of giving is tenfold in the air, and kids are full of wonder and magic. Write down five positive things daily to keep your mental health in check.
  • Be prepared: If you are already anxious about the questions you are going to be asked by your distant family members, be prepared with prepped responses. Practicing how we speak to others is a great way to mentally prepare for an event and take control of the situation.
  • Don’t rely on alcohol: Anxiety can often make us look for a way out of a situation, but alcohol should never be used as a coping mechanism. If you are using alcohol to get through an event, try switching out that cocktail for a mocktail!
  • Reach out: Be mindful of your feelings, take time to yourself, have boundaries, but also talk to your friends and/or family about how your mental health may be feeling! You would be surprised at how many people feel similar to you once you are transparent. In addition, having an ally and/or a confidant who can empathize with you is a great way to boost your own mental health. Finally, do not be afraid to reach out for professional help if you are having abnormal thoughts or feelings.
  • Self-care: Take time to take care of yourself no matter how busy your schedule is. Examples of quick self-care can include meditation, take a bath, read, do a face mask, or enjoy some hot tea. USC has a Mindfulness for Healthy Living Resource Guide which can be found here: https://msw.usc.edu/mindful-living-resources/

The holiday season can feel overwhelming sometimes, but mental health should still be a priority.  How do you ensure you are managing your holiday stress?

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