Four Simple Ways to Avoid Stress This Holiday Season

November 10, 2016 12:16 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Do you ever feel like “peace on earth” and “joy to the world” are about as far from describing your holiday season as possible? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us feel overwhelmed by the holidays. Between busy schedules, time with relatives and setting high expectations for ourselves to create the “perfect” holiday, it’s no wonder that 8 out of 10 people say they experience increased amounts of stress during this time of year.

As a distance counselor in Montana, I see an increasing number of clients who are suffering from holiday stress and the side effects of it every year, and it’s hard to see what’s meant to be a joyous time taking such a toll on people. That’s why this year I thought I’d offer a few useful tips that anyone can use to help relieve some of the stress this holiday season:

  • Take time out for yourself: Taking time for yourself allows you to clear your head, detox and regroup. After all, you can only give of yourself when you have something to give. Even taking 15 minutes a day to focus on you and do something you find relaxing and enjoyable can make a huge difference in your day.
  • Set reasonable expectations: We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create the perfect holiday. For some of us, we feel we have to recreate a Christmas or atmosphere from our childhood, which is just not realistic. Take some time to think about what you really want to get out of the holidays and focus on the here and now. You should make the holidays what you want them to be, but don’t get caught up in trying to make every detail perfect.
  • Don’t over-schedule: From work events to family get-togethers to ugly sweater parties, it’s easy for your December calendar to fill up quickly. However, it’s important not to over-schedule. Running here and there and taking part in the endless socializing is mentally and physically exhausting. Learn to say no. Just because you’re invited to an event doesn’t mean you have to go. For parties you decline, suggest a get-together later in the winter when things slow down.
  • Ask for help: If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to a close friend or family member who can help offer support. Most of us experience the same stressors during the holidays, so don’t feel that you are the only one not feeling the holiday spirit. You can always reach out to me as well. As a distance counselor in Montana, I’m conveniently available to help guide you through the stress of the holiday season.

The holidays are a time meant to focus on friends, family and the joy of the season. Don’t let stress bog you down. I hope these tips will help you rediscover your holiday spirit this year and avoid the stress that comes with the season. For more information, please contact Ellen Savage, MS, LCPC, DCC today.

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