The holiday season can be stressful for millions of people. Not only are there pressures to travel and purchase gifts, but there’s more put on one’s plate than usual. This can lead to people spending a couple of months in an ongoing state of stress or overwhelm. The good news is that there are things people can do to help beat back the blues and combat stress all season long.
“Things may be especially stressful this year for some people, due to supply chain issues and the pandemic,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “It’s especially important this time of the year to keep stress under control, so that you can enjoy the holiday season, and go into the new year feeling refreshed.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, we all feel stress from time to time, but if it goes on for weeks, it can negatively impact your health. Stress can make you sick, as well as lead to making unhealthy choices, such as eating too much, smoking, drinking alcohol, or not getting proper sleep.
Some of the things people can do to help stay emotionally well throughout the holiday season include:
Determine what those things are that tend to bring you down or stress you the most. What can you do to minimize them or become more resilient? Perhaps you can delegate, hire help, opt for delivery services, etc. Plus, keep in mind that if saying yes to every invite you get this holiday will cause you a lot of stress, it’s time to learn to gracefully say no to some things.
When we spend time helping others, we tend to forget about our own problems, or we gain a new perspective. Altruism leads to a sense of emotional well-being. There are always organizations around the holidays that are in need of volunteers, so get a few hours in. Whether it’s helping in a soup kitchen, delivering meals to the elderly, or reading holiday stories to preschoolers, it will help make you happy.
Make Time for Rest
The holidays can be a busy time that leaves some people feeling drained. Try to minimize this by making lists, planning things out, and always scheduling down time. It’s important to have dedicated time for relaxing, unwinding, and recharging at this time of the year.
Find an Outlet
There are many healthy things you can do to help reduce stress and help your mind stay in a good place. Try meditating, taking a hike, spending time in nature, journaling, or learning something new. If you are busy learning qigong or knitting, for example, your mind will stay focused on those things, instead of holiday stressors.
Keep it in Perspective
Oftentimes, our thoughts will embellish things and make it seem much worse than it really is – hello catastrophic thinking. We tend to worry about many things that never happen, which zaps us of our energy and mood for no reason. When your mood slumps during the holiday, get to the root of it, tend to it if need be, and keep what is going on in perspective.
Happiness is a choice. Each day, we have the ability to choose to be happy, but too often, we focus instead on those things that bring us stress. Start and end each day with having gratitude for another day. Focus on the things you are grateful for, rather than focusing on any of the negative things or stressors that are going on around you.
“At first, doing these things seems like work. It’s something you have to remind yourself of and work at,” says Sandler. “The more you live your life this way, though, the easier it becomes, and soon it’s like second nature for your life to have less stress and for you to live in an emotionally well place. Our emotional health is vital to our overall health and success in life. We must cultivate a healthy mindset.”