6 Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

Education | 12/11/20
A traffic backup in the rain.

‘Tis the season to be merry. Except sometimes, it’s not.

While the entertainment industry would have us think the holidays are always full of good cheer, the reality can be different.

If you feel stressed or down when the holidays roll around, here are six tips that could help:

1. Watch the buck

Nothing kills the holiday cheer like a mountain of debt. Stick to a budget when doing your holiday shopping and only spend what you can afford. Be extra careful not to overspend as the holidays draw near. If you find yourself running low on funds, consider arranging a gift exchange, like a Secret Santa, or giving homemade presents.

2. Give back

The holidays can sometimes leave us feeling down because we can’t find the “perfect” gifts. Opening a present is always a thrill but giving to others creates lasting joy. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, one of the best ways to reduce stress is to give back to your community.

Beat the stress this season by sharing holiday cheer with those who are less fortunate. Pick up some extra food on your next grocery trip and donate to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee or your nearest food pantry.

3. Stick to a schedule

Part of the holiday experience is enjoying late nights and/or early mornings. Sometimes, though, all that lazing around, and lack of quality sleep can make stress levels soar. There’s no need to be a stickler for your regular routine on the holidays, but it’s a good idea to keep some sort of schedule. Make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye, and if a physical workout is part of your daily routine, don’t neglect it over the holidays. You’ll always feel better when you’re taking care of your body.

4. Take some “me” time

Whether you’re a closet introvert or you just need some time alone each day, the nonstop partying and a house full of guests can get to you after a while. It’s always a good idea to take care of yourself, and in the chaos of the holidays this need is often neglected. Consider running out to get yourself a manicure, taking a solitary half-hour walk, or just locking yourself in your room after a long and loud day to savor the peace and quiet. You’re not being an antisocial snob if you need your “me” time; you’re just being human.

5. Give up the guilt

If you tend to overanalyze every interaction you have with family and friends, you can really beat yourself up over the holidays questioning everything you’ve said. Try to relax and let go this season. As long as you’re pleasant and agreeable, you can give yourself a break.

6. Lower your expectations

A common cause of holiday stress is unrealistic expectations. There will probably be some minor, or even major, stressors this holiday, and not everything will turn out exactly as planned. All of that is OK. If you don’t expect perfection, you won’t be struggling with mountains of disappointment this holiday.

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