By Kristen Sohlman, HBA, RP
The holiday season can bring about more family responsibilities, and along with it, additional feelings of stress. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with holiday expectations, advertisements, and being a busy time of year. Unfortunately, the holiday season can bring about unhealthy stress management behaviour like overindulging in eating or drinking which makes one feel worse. In order to feel better this holiday season, there are better and healthier ways to make holiday stress more manageable.
Strengthen social connections – Strong and supportive relationships help us to manage stress. We can view the holidays as a time to reconnect with positive people in our lives. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Accepting help and support from those who care about us can help alleviate stress. Helping others can often make us feel better, so help out a family member, a friend, or volunteer this holiday season by yourself or with your children.
Initiate conversations about the season – It can be helpful to have conversations with our kids about the variety of different holiday traditions our families, friends and other may celebrate. Parents can use this time as an opportunity to discuss how some families may not participate in the same holiday traditions as others. Not everyone needs to be the same. It is important to teach open-mindedness about others and their celebrations. Consider trying a new holiday tradition.
Set expectations – Be realistic and set realistic expectations for the holidays including holiday activities, as well as expectations for gift giving. We can teach children about the value of money and responsible spending. It can also be helpful to pare down our expectations instead of trying to do too much. Identify the most important holiday tasks and take small steps to accomplish them.
Keep things in perspective – Overall, it is important to remember that the holiday season is short. We can ask ourselves: what is the worst thing that could happen this holiday? Our biggest fears may not happen, and if they do, we can utilize our strengths and supports to manage them. Remember that there will be time after the holiday season to do the things we did not have time to do.
Take care of yourself – Please pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Have fun, enjoy yourself and relax by yourself and with family. By keeping your mind and body healthy you are better equipped to deal with stress. Consider cutting back on tv and getting fresh air as a family. Physical activity can help to make you feel and sleep better.
If you are interested to learn more about how to manage stress come join us for our How to Manage Stress Over the Holidays Seminar being held December 12 @ 6:00 pm and December 19 & 20 @ 1:00 pm here at Kelly Mental Health! See you soon & Happy Holidays!
American Psychological Association. (2017). Tips for parents on managing holiday stress. American Psychological Association. [Website] Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/parents-holiday.aspx
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