How to Deal with Holiday Stress
The holidays can be a joyful time but also a stressful time. Whether you're stressed about too many plans, not enough plans, feeling alone, losing a loved one, financial issues etc, there’s a lot of pressure during the holiday season to consume and socialize. Certainly this can be fun but it can also be overwhelming. And it’s okay to feel both!
The key word to think about when dealing with holiday stress is balance. Know that we can’t do it all. And it’s important to recognize that. When you let go of busy to find balance, you may come to realize that joy can trump stress. When you discover that perfect harmony of what you have to do vs. what you want to do, giving to others vs. giving to ourselves and participating vs. resting…it makes everything much more manageable (regardless of the time of year!)
With that said, if you find yourself stressing out more than usual during the holidays, know that you’re not alone. We are here for you at Mindwell. So we are sharing our top 8 tips for dealing with holiday stress. Keep in mind that these can be used year-round but are especially important during the holiday season.
Don’t completely isolate yourself
There are a ton of holiday parties and events this time of year. Whether it’s with friends, family or co-workers, it can be overwhelming. If you feel lonely during the holiday season or struggle with social anxiety, this only exacerbates the stress. It’s important to find balance with these social activities. You don’t want to go overboard by attending every single event and having zero alone time in December. But you don’t want to completely isolate yourself either. You know what you can handle. Some people only need a few days a week alone while some can only handle one or two days of social gatherings. Know what your body and brain need and what you can handle. And be sure to keep that balance during holiday season and beyond.
Acknowledge any losses
It’s not easy to let yourself feel. If you’re grieving from losing a loved one or ending a relationship, this time of year can be extremely difficult. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and not ignore them. Similar to finding balance in social activities, it’s essential to find balance in your emotions. Don’t ignore your feelings but don’t let them consume you either.
Create a new tradition
Whether you’re struggling with a loss or are looking to take your mind off of general holiday stress, consider creating a new ritual or tradition. Choose something that will enhance your self-awareness and allow you to be present. With all that’s going on during the holidays, we often think about what’s ahead and don’t really live in the moment. It can be something that just involves you -- like lighting a fire and listening to Christmas music, trying a festive recipe or watching a holiday movie. If you prefer to involve others, doing a holiday tea, gift exchange, movie night, game night, or group fitness class are things you can look forward to (this year and years to come).
Get in the holiday spirit
Remember how exciting the holidays were when you were a kid? Try bringing some of that excitement back by revisiting an old tradition. Think of something that used to bring you joy around this time of year and see if you can incorporate that back into your life this holiday season. It can be anything from ice skating in the park to baking cookies. Whatever traditions you used to look forward to, try bringing them back and see how you feel.
Don’t feel so pressured
Due to traditions, marketing, commitments, etc. the holidays can feel like a lot of pressure to do things (and sometimes we don’t want to do them!) Just because you’re “supposed” to do something (like go out on New Year’s Eve, for example) doesn’t mean you have to (go to bed at 10pm on the 31st if you want to!) Don’t let expectations ruin your holiday season.
Feeling like your holiday plans are a little light? Get out of town for a bit and utilize that time off. Try somewhere you’ve never been and take some time to unwind. Traveling is a great way to get inspired and just reset. And what better way to do that while heading into the new year?
We’re all familiar with multitasking but during stressful times, monotasking is the way to go. Focus on one thing at a time and make that one thing a priority. Don’t move onto anything else until you finish your last task, errand or project. This will make your to-do list less overwhelming and you may even find yourself being more productive. It is also a great way to practice mindfulness.
Have a silent night
Quite literally. Take a night or two just for you. Put your phone away. Meditate. And be present in the moment. Appreciate all you’ve accomplished this year and get excited for what 2019 has to bring.
At the end of the day, all of these things will bring more balance to your life during the holidays, and that’s something we can all use right about now. Try one (or all) of these ways to ease your stress level so you can be more present during this time of year. However, if the stress becomes too much to manage alone, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today.
If you are seeking counseling in New York City, contact us today to learn more about our services!
Request a Consultation
Fill out the form below to have one of our therapists reach out to discuss consultation services in New York City.