Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dealing with Holiday Stressors This Season

Traditionally speaking, we all know that the holidays are time of active celebration. Hopefully, you are looking forward to a festive and fun holiday season this year. You are probably also aware that the holidays can be a time of stress and overindulgence (i. e., holiday parties) in a way that might make you feel lethargic and drained. Below are some common holiday stressors and methods of combating their effects:

• Prevent burnout from overbooking yourself for too many party obligations and the pressures of holiday shopping. Use a post-it note or a journal to write down your purpose for this holiday season and create meaning during this hectic time of year. For example, maybe you want to bring some comfort and meaning to someone who is going through a difficult time or engage in volunteer work for those who are less fortunate. It could be something very simple such as giving a compliment to someone every day or making at least one new friend during the holiday season.

• Set boundaries for yourself prior to holiday events to prevent overindulgences and negative habits. The holidays, parties especially, can trigger overindulgences that we might otherwise have in check most of the time. Having an internal awareness of our past weaknesses will help set goals and develop strategies to overcome them this season. For example, if you tend to overeat starchy foods and sweets at parties and feel drained and exhausted afterwards, having a light snack before the party may help you tame this urge. Or, if you tend to overspend from holiday sales and gift shopping, create a budget ahead of time and a monetary figure that you will not exceed. A good tip is to make a list of all of the bad habits from previous holiday seasons and next to each one, a coping strategy to prevent negative consequences.

• Spend time reflecting (e. g., by recording in a journal) on what you need emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to feel healthy and strong. It may be to stick to certain dietary guidelines by getting more protein and fewer starches to maximize your energy. Or, it may be to spend time with a friend or support group once a week as a way of feeling a deeper sense of belonging.

• Make it a point to spend time with a good friend or supportive relative to prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation that sometimes surround us when we are away from close relatives that live far away.

• Keep an open mind and set out to achieve connections and insights to combat succumbing to stressful and overwhelming feelings that this time of year can sometimes bring. Set out to make some new connections with positive people or to strengthen an existing relationship in your life. Additionally, train your thinking to anticipate positive surprises rather than dwell on the stressors that sometimes come with family gatherings and holiday commercialism.

• On a daily basis, find at least one thing, person or situation that you are grateful for and make a mental note or jot it down. Make it a goal to record a minimum number of things to be grateful for in a “gratitude journal”.

Overall, by looking at last year's overindulgences and the triggers that can lead to holiday burnout, you can develop new strategies for creating meaning during this time of year.

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1 comment:

  1. It is very hard dealing with holiday stress. I hate the lines you have to wait in and the rude people. But I really love this time of year.But I mostly love seeing my daughter open presents.