How to Handle Stress During the Holiday Season

Happy Couple At Holidays

By: Ruth Skeel, MSW, LCSW, LCAC Clinical Director

Stress during the holidays has become a normal thing families deal with every year. But why?

Is it the preparation of meals; the pressure of buying the perfect gift; fear of in-laws coming; lengthy travel plans; or pressure of putting up the best light display in the neighborhood so your neighbors believe you will not be considered a Scrooge.  It’s a combination of all these things.

5 Quick Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

  1. Consider shopping in advance of the holiday season or buying gift cards. Shopping in advance allows you to avoid the long lines, the endless searching for a parking space, and out of stock merchandise. Gift cards can be purchased almost anywhere; stores, pawn shops, online, and gas stations. There are usually no long lines when gift cards are concerned. 
  2. Schedule “me time” throughout your holiday preparations. A time to take a break from the to-do-list of the holiday season. Perhaps you can enjoy a quick walk around the outside of your home, have devotion time, or enjoy a cup of eggnog by yourself.
  3. Get some sleep. Rest is important; it allows your body to recover from the stress of the day’s business. Sleep and dream of sugar plum ferries, the 12 days of Christmas, and all the joyous moments to come. 
  4. Slow down. Don’t put too many expectations on yourself. You are only one person. You already know the family members who will “act up”. Set your expectations low or at a reasonable level and you will not be disappointed, thus less stressed.
  5. Remember the word ‘season’, in the holiday season, means for a time. This holiday season is only temporary, it will eventually end. Your family members will go back to their respective homes; your life will settle back into its normal rhythm, and your stress levels will return to manageable levels. So enjoy the holiday season, it’s only here once a year. 

If you feel like your stress was unmanageable before the holidays or you can’t seem to return to “normal” when things have calmed down. Contact us today. Chronic Stress affects many people, but with counseling, there is hope for focusing on positive thinking.

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