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Coping With Holiday Stress

5 Tips to Help You get through the Holidays

It is the peak of the holiday season and chances are you have been more stressed than ever. The past couple of years have been missing a sense of normalcy due to the COVID pandemic and, even with our world reopening, it seems like the holidays have just gotten more hectic. You may be connecting with people in-person and online, but the holidays also bring a sense of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety.

Just know that you are not alone.

In fact, 8 out of 10 Americans surveyed say they struggle with high stress during the holiday season more than any other time of the year. It’s especially true for women of color who rarely find time to recharge and relax and don’t always have the outlet to cope with everyday struggles on top of the holiday stress.

Not only that but, depending on what you’ve been through personally, the holidays can bring feelings of sadness, depression, melancholy, grief, and disconnection - even when you are surrounded by people you love and who love you. It makes preparing for family and friend visits, buying the right presents, and finishing everything you need to get done before Christmas and the New Year even more difficult.

So, what can you do to make it easier?

Here are 5 tips to help you avoid and cope with holiday stress to have a more calm, positive, and memorable holiday season.

Limit Time Online And On Social Media

Even though online shopping for a loved one or treating yourself to a cyber holiday deal can feel amazing, you need to be mindful of what kind of media and how much content you are consuming on a daily basis. What you see online - positive or negative - can often create feelings of shortcoming or disappointment if areas in your life aren’t “perfect”. Let perfectionism go by allowing yourself more time each day to be fully present and fully grateful. You can learn more about how to find gratitude within yourself here.

Be Mindful Of Diet and Sleep Patterns

Stress is a huge disruptor when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet and sleep schedule. Ironically, that just leads to more stress and more unhealthy choices. It can make you more sluggish and less energetic, preventing you from getting work done and enjoying quality time with your loved ones. Sleep is an essential element to reducing stress and gaining more energy for the days ahead.

Likewise, your diet has an incredible impact on how healthy you feel and how well you respond to different situations. Your health and wellbeing are key to coping and healing from holiday stress.

Write Down Concrete Plans For The Month

How many times have you looked at your calendar only to realize it’s already halfway through the month? When your mind is constantly being distracted by everyday obligations, it’s easy for the days to creep up on you - which is a big area of stress and one that is easy to dismiss. Write down events on a physical calendar ahead of time - not just the online one you learn to ignore throughout the day - to keep your plans on track and headaches at bay.

Make A List For Budget And Stick to It

One of the most common stressors during the holiday season is finances. Whether you are buying gifts and paying more for expedited shipping or spending more at the grocery store during higher inflation season, make a list to see where your money is going and where to redirect if you are going over budget. Also, making homemade gifts or shopping in local markets can reduce higher-priced items and shipping surges. This can relieve stress and give peace of mind that you know where your hard-earned money is spent and saved.

Get Mental Health Support

If you are feeling disconnected, exhausted, anxious, and/or depressed, chances are you’re experiencing the “holiday blues”. It’s often assumed that you have to feel these things year-round to seek help. That couldn’t be further from the truth! The holidays can heighten deep-rooted grief or post-traumatic stress symptoms and professional help can help you work through that in a healthy and effective way. Gifting yourself that time and space to speak your mind, express your emotions, and relieve your frustrations with someone you can trust, that understands, and who experiences the same issues can do more good for your holiday stress and mental health than almost any other solution.

Feel you may need more support during the holidays? KQH Mental Health Counseling is a private practice that provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families. To learn more about our services or book a consultation, be sure to visit our website.

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