Healthy Holidays - Dealing with Stress - Yorktown Family Services
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Healthy Holidays – Dealing with Stress

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If you get stressed over the holidays, you aren’t alone. The holiday season can bring with it a lot to handle with an escalation in demand on our time and our emotions. Being prepared will help you to cope and get more cheer than grief over the holidays.

Here’s how to make the most of the holidays:

  1. Manage Your Expectations.

Approaching the holidays realistically is the first most important holiday stress-buster. It can create a lot of stress if there is a big gap between what you envision the holidays should be and what the reality is. If you keep your expectations realistic, then what you’re expecting of yourself and others will inspire more cheer and less grief for the holidays.

  1. Project Manage.

Get things done in bite-sized chunks. Take a project management approach and get some clarity around what is realistic and can be achieved in steps and stages.

  1. Enlist others to share your vision: Delegate.

Be collaborative. Get input from others and agree on who is responsible for what. This will remove the uncertainty, one of the big drivers of stress. When everyone knows what is expected of them, so much more can be accomplished. Once the roles have been assigned, you can move on to other things.

  1. Congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Have your task list ready and commit to at least a couple of manageable things each day that you can cross off your list. Give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing them.

  1. Set a budget and stick to it.

Give up-front consideration to how much money you are going to spend on gifts. Pace yourself and start shopping early and do some research to find the best prices. Money spent on gifts can really add up. As an alternative to buying for everyone, draw names or create a roster of who will buy for whom each year.

  1. Connect with others.

Sharing how you are feeling and supporting others is great for mental health and managing stress. You might find that you are coping better than you thought you were and can provide helpful suggestions to help support others.

  1. Appreciate what you have.

It can be human nature to dwell on the things that aren’t going our way but there are others that are less fortunate. Setting aside time to volunteer for a few hours at a seniors home, a food bank, or a soup kitchen with family or friends will help you appreciate the good things that have come to you over the past year and will inspire hope for good things to come in the New Year.

  1. Think positively and prepare mentally.

Don’t fixate on what can go wrong; instead focus on what will go well. Don’t spend time worrying about family members that don’t get along. Rehearse how you’re going to handle a challenging situation if it comes up but don’t dwell on it. This will help you manage your stress and prevent anxiety from spinning out of control.

  1. Take some time for yourself.

Set some time to take a break. Go for a walk or go skating. Curl up with a good book or put your feet up and watch your favourite movie. Call a friend and have a chat. You need to bring balance to what you do for others and what you do for yourself.

All the best for the holidays!

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