The holidays often fuel stress by throwing off routines and adding extra pressures, such as getting and giving gifts. Below are strategies to stay stable.
While classic Christmas songs depict a time filled with festive decorations and joyful gatherings, there’s another major element to the holiday season for many: stress.
Much of this tension stems from finding the time and money to get the “perfect” gift and host holiday get-togethers. Almost a quarter of Americans report feeling “extreme” stress in December around the holidays, according to the American Psychological Association.
The breakdown of those who are feeling strained: 69 percent say a ‘lack of time’ contributes to their tension, another 69 percent say this stress is related to a ‘lack of money’ and finally 51 percent say they feel significant pressure to “give or get gifts.”
While at times becoming a Grinch may feel like the best route to take to avoid all of these stressors, here are some tips from New Directions Behavior Health that can allow you to melt away stress so you can enjoy some holiday merriment with those around you.
Spend time with friends.
This can raise the oxytocin levels in your brain, keeping you from feeling depressed.
Find time to enjoy nature.
Serotonin and dopamine are chemicals the brain produces that can protect against mental health disorders, and they are connected to fresh air, sunshine and outdoor exercise (Just remember to bundle up if it’s cold!).
Stick to your medication schedule.
Holiday celebrations can definitely shake up normal routines, including those involving medication. An electronic alert on a smart phone, or a friendly reminder from a close friend or family member, can help you remember reminders related to your medication schedule.
With the abundance of social media posts out there, especially this time of year, it can be difficult to avoid comparing your holiday celebrations to the events you see your friends, neighbors, and family members posting about. It’s important to remember there’s a lot most posts don’t show, such as family drama, work problems and monetary issues.
Start a new holiday tradition.
Have you tried the above and still feel like you can’t get through the holiday season? Try shaking things up with a new holiday tradition to give yourself some refreshed energy.
Your most important tool to take on holiday stress, even when it feels like your plans for presents or family gatherings are crumbling, is a calm, confident inner voice. Now go out and soak in the holiday cheer! (As you know, it only comes around once every year).
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