Tips for relieving holiday stress

The holiday season can be a time of increased stress. But there are some strategies for relieving holiday stress that can help you cope, whether you’re struggling with finances, the increased time commitments the holidays bring with them or a difficult family member.

With so many demands on your time and resources, it can be challenging to avoid stress, insomnia, depression and a feeling of being overwhelmed. But these tips will help you manage stress so you can get through the holidays without worrying about your health. And you might even enjoy the holiday season more than ever.A woman meditating.

Acknowledge and allow your feelings

The Mayo Clinic explains that taking the time to cry or otherwise express your feelings, especially if you’re dealing with loss or grief, is very important. Whether you simply can’t be with family during the holidays or you have lost a family member or friend, grief can cast a shadow over the season. Ignoring this isn’t healthy; admitting how you feel and talking about your feelings can help.

Take breaks to relax

Connie Bennett MSJ, CHHC, CPC, in Psychology Today, suggests taking several deep breaths or a few minutes to meditate or just relax soon after you wake in the morning. If you get stressed, anxious or overwhelmed during the day, she recommends additional relaxation breaks of one to five minutes to help calm yourself — again using slow, conscious breaths to relax your nervous system.

Have realistic expectations

The Mayo Clinic says it’s important to let go of perfection as well as traditions and rituals that don’t serve you anymore. Holding on to a rigid idea of what the holidays have to be like can cause stress, while letting go and adapting to the current situation is a healthier choice.

Say no to whatever you need to

Don’t feel like you have to do it all — learn to say no when you just can’t take on another project or commitment. Your friends and family will understand, says the Mayo Clinic.

Don’t overdo comfort foods and alcohol

Bennett suggests taking “polite” portions of pleasure foods and alcohol and having a balanced meal with protein, fats and low-glycemic carbs first. The Mayo Clinic also suggests a healthy pre-party snack and good sleep habits.

Keep up your exercise and healthy food routines

Regular exercise has been proven to elevate mood and reduce tension, anger, confusion and fatigue, says Bennett. Make sure you keep up with your routine even with the additional pressure on your schedule. It only takes one week for regular exercisers to feel depressed when they slack on their routines, she says.

Following these tips can put you well on your way toward relieving holiday stress and getting through the season feeling healthier and more balanced than ever.

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