Managing Holiday Stress

Do you feel tense at the thought of the holiday season? Does your heart skip a beat when you think about spending the entire day with your extended family? Does the thought of a revolving balance on your credit card from overspending keep you up at night?

If you answered yes to any of these, you are not alone. Money and family responsibilities are some of the top sources of stress in South Africa.

Before the stress of the holiday season affects you, read on to learn how to enjoy the most of the holiday season, or go and see your Psychologist Pretoria East, Laurian Ward, and she will help you manage your stress.

Common Symptoms of Holiday-Related Stress

Stress can affect the body in many ways, symptoms include:
• Anxiety
• Sadness
• Headaches
• Body Aches
• Inability To Sleep
• Irritability

Who Is Affected By Holiday-Related Stress?

Holiday stress can affect anyone, even children, as there are a lot of expectations around the holidays. It can become overwhelming to make every meal award-worthy and every wrapped gift perfect. Finding the time to attend every party, or feeling like you have not been invited to enough parties can cause stress. When you add the financial burden, travel or visiting family members, stress can build. The holiday season can also be a difficult time of year for people who have lost friends and family members. The memory of their loss can add to the stress even more.

Managing Holiday Stress

There are a few ways to deal with holiday stress, but you need to first understand your triggers. When you feel stressed, pause and think about what is causing it. Once you understand what triggers your stress, use these simple steps to de-stress.

Plan Ahead
Finding time for your activities can be tricky. On top of your holiday commitments, you may also need to deal with increased traffic, especially in malls, or you may feel pressure to get ahead of work so that you can take time off. Creating an action plan can help relieve some stress. Write down all the things you need to do that you can prioritize them. You will also be less likely to forget something that is on the list.

Put Yourself First
When the focus on the holiday season is giving, it can be easy to forget about yourself. Taking care of yourself will improve your mood and make it easier for you to take care of others. Set aside some time to do things you enjoy. Exercise, plan a dinner out or just get a few minutes of fresh air. Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep.

Keep your Finances in Check
If you are worried about your spending, be realistic about what you can afford. The sentiment behind a gift is more important than the cost. Create a budget and stick to it. Spend only what you can afford, and if you cannot spend anything, bake a treat to offer your talents and time to your friends and loved ones.

Honour Loved Ones You Have Lost
It may be difficult to celebrate the holiday season if you have lost someone close to you or if distance is making it difficult to spend time together. Spend time reflecting on special memories and doing something meaningful to honour a loved one. If you are unable to spend time with loved ones, volunteer your time to a local organization where you could make a change in someone’s day. Their smile could most likely warm your heart.

Indulge in Moderation
Have food that you may only have once a year, but don’t forget the importance of healthy eating as well. Five sugar cookies for breakfast isn’t going to derail your eating plan, but it’s unrealistic to eat that every day during the holidays. It will not only leave you feeling ill, but the extra weight would quickly sneak up on you. Everything in moderation is key this time of year.

Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
It is ok to say “no” and the more you say it, the easier it will get. Say “yes” to events and things you know you will enjoy. Say “no” to obligations that will cause you heartache and disappointment. If working a few extra hours of overtime makes you happy so that you can treat your mom, do it. But if your neighbour, who you are not fond of, invites you to a party, feel free to decline. You will be happy if you do.

Should You See A Psychologist?

If you have tried the above tips and your mood has not improved, speak to Laurian Ward, Psychologist Pretoria East. Just sharing your feelings may help you feel better.

The Takeaway

When it becomes too stressful, it is important to listen to what your mind and body are telling you. If the situation is too stressful, ask why it is so stressful and what you can do to manage it better. Not only will this help you deal with holiday stress, but it can help you better manage the year with greater skill.