Stress is a major health concern in this country, and many report feeling stressed out more around the holidays than any other time of the year. Expectations of having the “perfect” holiday, finding just the right gift, or connecting with family members can fall short, leading to feelings of disappointment, loneliness, and depression.
Because stress can be so damaging to the mind, body, and spirit, it is important to find ways to experience the season in a more positive manner.
Here are 7 ways to work on stress free holidays:
Don’t set yourself up. No one has the perfect family or the perfect holiday, regardless of how the Christmas cards read or how the Facebook pictures look. Don’t go into the holidays with unrealistic expectations. Work on minimizing the negative and concentrating on the positive.
Enjoy What is Happening Now
Sometimes the holidays can be painful and bring up memories from the past. Concentrate as much as possible on making more positive memories this Holiday. If circumstances are especially difficult this year, try to get some support from your family, your friends, your community, or your pets.
Comparing yourself and your holiday situation to other people you know is a trap that you won’t be able to win. You will either feel less than or better than. Instead try to realize that everyone’s holiday is different and you really don’t know what’s going on with other people in their families. Focus in on ways you can improve your outlook and mindset. Work on feeling gratitude for what you have.
Stop the Negative Self-Talk
One of the best ways to stop the negative self-talk is to stop focusing on yourself by find ways to make someone else’s holiday more meaningful. ‘Tis the Season to find peace by helping a family, a child, someone you know, or someone you haven’t met yet.
Take Care of You
Take the time to take care of you. Start by noticing how and when you start feel overwhelmed. Is the stress in your stomach? Does your throat feel tight? Are you feeling tired? Take some time to pause and renew. Concentrate on making the holidays more healthy and notice the difference in how you feel.
Be aware of when you start feel stressed and step back. Work on boundaries and saying no when you feel you are overextending yourself. It may feel difficult at first to say no, but in a short amount of time you will notice a decrease in your stress level.
Create a New Tradition
When you think of this Holiday Season, what can you do to create a new tradition? Is there something you would really like to do this year? Or maybe there is something that you would rather not do? Give it a shot. Change can be a good thing,
If you or someone you care about is interested in learning more stress reduction tips, we will be offering an online version of our stress-reduction group. Yes, you can get stress-reduction tools without having to leave the house in the cold winter months! Find out more here.
Please contact me, Carol Soldevilla LICSW. I am a therapist specializing in stress-reduction, trauma, and depression. I am happy to speak with you about how I can help.