How to Deal with Holiday Stress

How to Deal with Holiday Stress

“Tis the season to be jolly”? Or should we address the elephant in the room for many? The holidays are filled with many joyful things - family, friends, gifts, food, drink - the list goes on. But as we’re right in the midst of the festive season, let’s not forget that the holidays can also build up a lot of stress and anxiety with looming deadlines, a diary filled with events and work commitments and managing families. 
In order to start the new year right, you need to check in on your mental health and prioritise your wellness.
A recent study even showed that women will be 11% more stressed than men this holiday season.. And it’s not hard to imagine with women still carrying the bulk of domestic duties generally worldwide whilst also juggling careers. 
Nonetheless, focusing on your wellness in the holidays should be a priority for everyone.
We’ve rounded up five simple practices that can help you slow down, manage any holiday stress you may have and enjoy the true essence of Christmas
1. Manage your expectations
Be real with yourself. What can you really manage? It’s important to establish right from the start what you can realistically handle. 
This can be in concern to what money you can spend, how many events you can attend without physically and mentally exhausting yourself, how many responsibilities you can take on your own and who or what you already know is going to cause you upset. 
It’s handy to be prepared by listing what you expect from yourself as well as what others expect from you and then really being harsh on what is truly important on those lists. 
You can then even make a rough timeline of events and responsibilities to follow to avoid time pressure. On top of this, identify your triggers early on.
Even with all of this preparation, remember it’s okay to feel stressed or lonely during the holidays… you are not alone. Recognize that, feel it and try to let it go.
2. Maintain your healthy habits
A preventative tip! Make sure to keep at least two of your healthy habits in the festive season. It will help ground you and make you feel stable if you’re starting to feel pulled in different directions. 
It’s always important to have moments for yourself, where you priorities yourself, even if it’s just for thirty minutes a day.
Yes, we are all prone to late nights and a little bit too much to drink on some nights in the season, but let’s not beat ourselves up about that. 
Whilst it’s completely okay to over-indulge once in a while, know your limit. Try your best to get a good night of sleep, exercise regularly, spend time outdoors and recognize how many drinks may be too many…
Sustaining some of your daily habits into these months will really do wonders, especially if you are someone who can get overstimulated. 
Be sure to fit holiday obligations into your everyday routine rather than letting it take over your life. You are in control!
At the end of the day, please remember to be kind to yourself. So if you do slip up and have a heavy night, recognize what you shouldn’t do next time and release that frustration.
3. Keep it simple
The spirit of the season can sometimes get lost in the mounds of last minute projects, overly advertised sales and general over consumption. 
Try your best to not over commit and to recognize early what really means the most to you. 
Allow yourself to say no to things! If your loved ones really respect you, they’ll know to appreciate where you draw your boundaries.
If this means re-evaluating your traditions, then so be it. What’s the good in a tradition if it’s just causing more harm than good? Traditions can and will change over time; this is only natural as you change over time… which is inevitable. 
You can create new traditions. If you’re dealing with friends or family who are set in their ways, have an honest conversation with them about it and suggest coming together to start a new tradition or mixing old and new traditions.
Simplicity is key when it comes to periods of possible high-stress. Identify what these holidays really mean to you and try to stick to that belief.
4. Always check yourself
Even if you feel like you have a handle on things, slow down and reassess how you’re really feeling every few days. 
How do I really feel at this moment? Am I still doing things for myself during this time? How many responsibilities am I handling right now? What do I really want to be doing right now? Are my expectations of myself healthy?
You don’t have to drill into yourself, but just remember to wake up every day and bring yourself back to those responsibilities that you prioritized at the beginning of the holidays. 
Reset yourself and look around you and remind your loved ones to also relook at themselves if they are a source of stress.
If you’re feeling pressured by all the festive chat and over posting on social media, check out and take some time off your phone. This is a great way to reconnect with the festive season and the people around you.
5. Practice gratitude
An extension of checking yourself is to recognize and really sit in the beauty of your blessings
With life passing us by in the flash of an eye and all the crazy things going on around us, it’s incredibly important to look at the things we would usually take for granted. It’s only natural to sometimes lose perspective, but with it being the end of the year, it’s the perfect time to go through a process of self-reflection. 
What has really served you this year? What do you want to take into the new year? Who has really been there for you? 
What do you want to be better at? This is part and parcel of slowing down and taking time for yourself before we take on another new year. So do yourself a favor and gift yourself this precious time to tend to yourself just for a small moment in time.
It is all about balance, so also try to do something for your community. Whether this be dropping some food off to a shelter or a random, small act of kindness… it will feel good and give someone else some joy if you do this. After all, isn’t Christmas about spreading joy?
What’s the good in a merry season if you can’t even enjoy it? Stop, breathe, reflect and take it all in. 
You can’t enjoy the good without the bad, so recognize that there may be times you struggle this season… just don’t do it alone. Christmas is a time to share with your loved ones, so share even the ugly parts. It’s all part of the (sleigh) ride…

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