The holidays can be one of the most magical times of the year. However, all of the extra social gatherings, pressure to find the perfect gifts and trying to stay in shape can cause burn out.
Some common signs of too much stress include:
- Increased anxiety, irritability and depression
- Loss of interest in work
- Sleeping problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Social withdrawal
When the holiday stress gets to be too much, there are many ways to help manage it in a healthy way:
- Let it go. Sometimes getting something off your chest and out of your mind can help. Telling and hearing personal stories may help you deal with stress. Meditation and relaxation may also help lower stress by quieting your mind.
- Don’t let money ruin the holiday spirit. Pick a budget and stick to it so you aren’t paying off bills in the New Year. Try making meaningful or personal gifts that don’t cost a lot, such as personalized coffee mugs, pre-made recipes in a jar (chocolate chip cookies, soup, etc.), or make a scarf or blanket.
- Make a list, and stick to it. Once you get a gift for someone, wrap it up right away and set it aside. That way there is no temptation to add more then what you can do. Remember, even Santa has his limits.
- It’s ok to say no. You don’t have to go to every holiday gathering. Keep your schedule open for relaxation time. When your days are filled with parties and gatherings, you can easily become burned out and tired.
- Laugh it off. Laughter can significantly reduce your stress levels and help you relax. When you laugh, your brain releases chemicals that relax your muscles and produce pleasure. Even something as small as a smile can help fight off stressful thoughts.
- Be creative. Art, music and dance may give you the chance to express yourself in different ways and explore your creative side. Even people who have never danced, painted or drawn before have found these activities helpful and fun.
- Move your body. Exercise is a known way to reduce stress and feel less tense. Blow off some steam at the gym or take a run or power walk around your neighborhood. Just getting a little physical activity can be a powerful stress reliever. Try getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Many people dread the holidays because their inner experience is so different from what is being hyped. Trust your own instincts and don't try to be what you're not. Keep up your normal routine and know that this day will soon pass.
If you are unable to shake the "holiday blues," your feelings may not be about the holidays, but about other things in your life. If you need help sorting out or dealing with this issue, Prevea Behavioral Care may be able to help.
To schedule an appointment with Prevea Behavioral Care, call (920) 272-1200.