Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tips For Reducing Stress During the Holidays {Part 3}

Are any of you starting to feel the pressure and stress of the Holiday Season yet? Christmas can certainly bring out high levels of stress for people, so my goal is to give some easy and practical ways of reducing stress this season. If you've missed the other posts in this series, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Here are a few other tips for reducing stress:

  • Be practical in the amount of people you buy for: While we may want to get gifts for all those in our lives, sometimes it isn't practical financially or time-wise. Set a limit on the amount of people you are buying for in your life. Your friends will probably more then understanding, or at least relieved it's one less gift they have to buy as well. If you've usually given a gift to someone, and have chosen not to this year, be assertive and tell them that upfront. If you're tight on money, let them know that, while you'd like to buy something for them, you just can't do it this year, but still want them to know that you appreciate your friendship. 
  • Be aware of what your unhealthy coping mechanisms are: Most of us have some unhealthy ways to cope with situations: food, alcohol, picking, etc... Plan in advance what you will do when you are tempted to use these unhealthy coping mechanisms. I find that it can be helpful to create a list in advance of healthy things you can do when you are in a place that you need to cope so it is ready at your fingertips when it is needed. 
  • Be careful to not have unrealistic expectations for family: Sometimes we expect that a family member's behavior will change simply because it's Christmas. Generally speaking, people are who they are no matter what time of the year it is, meaning that just because it's a big holiday doesn't mean the person's behavior will change. 
  • Practice deep breathing regularly: When we start getting stressed, it's easy for us to feel short of breath, our heart races, and our tension shoots up. Practicing deep breathing throughout the day will help keep your stress at bay, allowing you to function as best as possible. Click here to read about developing a deep breathing practice. 
  • Understand that you don't HAVE to get together with family: Sometimes we feel that the holidays obligate us to spend time with family. While it's nice if you can, you are in no way obligated to do this. Perhaps your family is toxic or too inappropriate/dysfunctional/unsafe to be around. You'll have a more enjoyable break if you spend it as an immediately family instead of throwing yourselves into a toxic family situation. 
Well, you now have 15 tips to decrease your overall stress this holiday season. Choose a few to work on and make a priority throughout the next few weeks, and let me know how it goes.

Now it's your turn:
What sorts of stress have you experienced this Christmas season so far? What are 2 tips that you can commit to working on throughout the next few weeks?


  1. "Be practical in the amount of people you buy for" <-- That is exactly one source of stress for me right now! This is my first year with a proper job, and I have all these perfect gift ideas picked out, but I barely have enough money to get something for everyone in my family.

    Food is definitely a stress thing for me right now (and, well, always). I'm so overweight and coworkers keep bringing in candy, pastries, cookies, etc. And where do they place it? On the table right behind me. I have to pass by it whenever I go literally anywhere in the office. Gah.

  2. I have a shy request . . . could you share some of your go-to coping mechanisms? I need some healthy ideas that don't involve the cookie jar! ;)

  3. @Peaslepuff - the whole gift giving thing can be incredibly stressful! Sometimes we just can't reciprocate, and that is OK. Having food constantly available right next to us can definitely lead to increased snacking. Can you move the plate somewhere else in the office?

    @Melissa- I absolutely can share some of my go-to coping mechanisms. I'll try to put that post out on Thursday!

  4. Unhealthy coping mechanisms.. wow, this hits the spot for me. These are such helpful tips. THANK YOU! Such great links come via #commenthour!

  5. Great strategies for the holidays! :)

    One big thing for me is letting go of my grand plans. I tend to think I can do more than I actually can for the holidays, then get mad at myself for "failing" to do it all. I'm much happier when I keep it simple!

    ~Tui p.s. I'm visiting from #commenthour :)

  6. @Mental Mosaic - I know i mentioned expectations here with family, and in one of the earlier posts I wrote about creating realistic plans for what we can do. It's an easy temptation to do much more then is healthy or realistic. Changing expectations is important, but definitely difficult.

  7. ah I love this post! I think I am pretty good with holiday stress. On a day to day basis I tend to pick my eyelashes, for only God knows the reason! This only started a couple months ago! o_O