We all love that time of year filled with family gatherings, bright lights, and hot chocolate. We look forward to decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies, and giving gifts. The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter, and cheer. Unfortunately…it can also be a time of stress, anxiety, and chaos.
The holidays may have some of us thinking…What if I don’t get everything done in time? What if I can’t afford it? What if the kids are disappointed? Statistics show that 88 percent of people are more stressed around the holidays than any other time of year (Anderer, 2019). This unnecessary stress can lead to pain, irritability, substance abuse, high blood pressure, and increased anxiety and depression (Keane, 2020). But the holidays shouldn’t be a time we dread because of stress. The holidays should be a time to improve our mental health! Early Life wants to encourage you and your family to make this a stress-free holiday season….here are some ways to start!
- Don’t expect perfection.
One reason why we get so disappointed at the holidays could be that our expectations are too high. From the very beginning, know that not everything will go as planned. Not everything will be picture perfect. Identify the things that are most important to you and prioritize them.
- Avoid comparisons.
Spend some time away from social media. Remember that the images people post do not tell the whole story. How someone else is spending their holiday may be right for them, but it doesn’t make it right for everyone.
- Make a plan/schedule.
Those endless errands and events can be exhausting. Coming up with a schedule can help you have realistic expectations for the day and allow you to make time for unseen complications. You will be less overwhelmed when you set aside specific time for each thing that needs to be done.
- Create a budget.
The holidays do not have to be a financial burden. Create a holiday budget and stick to it. You’ll be reassured that you are only spending what you can afford and that you aren’t neglecting other important expenses.
- Ask for help.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself. December is a time to celebrate family and friends, so use them as a resource! Communicate how you are feeling and ask for help when you need it.
Anderer, John. “Jingle Bell Crock: 88% Of Americans Feel The Holiday Season Is Most Stressful Time Of Year.” Study Finds, Pushups, 21 Dec. 2019, www.studyfinds.org/jingle-bell-crock-88-of-americans-feel-the-holiday-season-is-most-stressful-time-of-year/.
Beuermann-King, Beverly. “How To Make Sure That Holiday Stress Does Not Get To You.” Work Smart. Live Smart., Work Smart. Live Smart., 2020, worksmartlivesmart.com/national-stress-free-family-holidays-month/.
Gross, Gail. “How To Have A Stress-Free Family Holiday.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 2 Nov. 2016, www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-have-a-stress-free-family-holiday_b_57ffc8b1e4b0f42ad3d25d36.
Keane, Elizabeth. “December Is National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month.” Kennebec Behavioral Health, Kennebec Behavioral Health, 2020, www.kbhmaine.org/Stress-Free-Holidays
Smith, Chloe. “National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month.” Carruth Center | West Virginia University, West Virginia University, 17 Dec. 2019, https://carruth.wvu.edu/blog/2019/12/17/national-stress-free-family-holiday-month