Steps to Reducing Stress this Holiday Season
by Bianca Marcu, MA, LPC
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” is something we often hear around the holiday season. The holidays are said to bring joy and happiness to each individual and are meant to be a time to relax with loved ones, but what if that isn’t the case for everyone? What if the holidays trigger stress and anxiety? It is not uncommon to reach a point during the holidays in which you’re ready for all of it to be over. However, there are things that can be done to avoid some of the holiday stress or reduce it if you have reached that point.
Be Mindful: Take a moment to step back and take a look around you. Slow down, get out of your head, and allow yourself to breath it all in for a few minutes. Allowing yourself to be present and in the moment, is one of the most useful things that can be done to reduce stress. We sometimes get to a point of being so stressed that we don’t even get to enjoy the moment, and before we know it it’s all over. Don’t let yourself reach that point. Take a few minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness.
Practice Gratitude: With the holidays comes a lot of social gatherings, shopping and returns that can end up causing stress. In the midst of all of this, we tend to forget to be grateful for all we have. Taking some time to reflect on your life and the things and people around you can aid in providing a sense of comfort. Practicing gratitude can help slow you down and focus on what’s important. Showing others small gestures of gratitude can also help with taking a step away from all the stress and doing something that is good for the soul.
Self-Care: Don’t forget to take care of yourself this holiday season! We spend so much time making sure that we get everyone the perfect gift and assuring that everyone else will be happy that we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Take some time out of each day to do something nice for yourself. It can be as little as sitting down to watch your favorite movie or show or taking some time to pamper yourself. Remember to stay on track with your regular sleep and exercise routine during this time of year.
Staying Organized: Organization is key in the frantic world of the holiday season. Make a list of all the things you need to do and a plan a time that you will get them done. Do not overwhelm yourself or plan unrealistic goals. Don’t take on everything yourself either. Ask for help from those around you. After all the holidays are a time of giving, right?
Get Support: The holidays can sometimes trigger depression or anxiety for some people. If this is the case for you, do not hesitate to get help from a professional. People often assume that they will get better on their own, but there is no reason for you to have to do this alone. Having someone that can help talk you through it can make a world of a difference.