novermber calendarAlthough the holidays can be a time of happiness and joy, they can also come with a multitude of stressors.  Finances are often a stressor during the holidays, particularly for parents.  Memories of loved ones we’ve lost, a demanding schedule of activities and being alone can all increase feelings of stress at this time of year.

When you’re likely to be faced with a multitude of stressors, it can be helpful to implement a few strategies early in the season that can pay off, in terms of lower stress levels, all season long.

Strategies for Managing the stress of the Holiday Season:

  1. Know your values:  Take stock now, before the full swing of the holiday season hits and remind yourself of what is important to you right now and during this season.  This year fiscal responsibility may be important to you or you may want to find a way to honor a loved one you’ve recently lost.  Knowing your values ahead of time will help you to make choices that honor those values during the course of the season.  If sticking to a budget is important and you have thought about that ahead of time, you’re less likely to splurge on unnecessary indulgences.
  2. Anticipate Obstacles to Maintaining Your Well-being:  Reflect on past holiday seasons and remind yourself of circumstance that intensified your stress levels.  For example, in looking back, you might notice that you have a tendency to overschedule yourself or, conversely, you might find that you do too little planning in advance and find yourself feeling alone during important moments of the season.  Once you know the pitfalls you are particularly prone to, you can be mindful when faced with similar circumstances this holiday season and make choices about how you manage those stressors that are likely to occur again.
  3. Keep Balance in Mind:  The holidays can be a season of highs and lows.  It can be a time of indulgence, frenzied schedules, loneliness and increased obligations.  During the holidays it’s easy to lose healthy habits, such as regular sleep, exercise and healthy eating.  Check in with yourself periodically over the course of the season.  If you’re life is getting off balance, take some time to figure out how you can readjust and restore equilibrium.
  4. Be Present in the Moment:  Identify ahead of time moments during the season that are important to you and focus on being fully present during those times.  It’s easy for worry and anxiety about stressful circumstances to interfere with your ability to experience moments of joy and calm during the season.  Give yourself permission to block off some times worry free.  At those times, focus entirely on what you are doing.  If you find your mind is far away, bring it back to the present and throw yourself into what you are doing.

Life continues on, even during the holidays.  Everyday obligations remain, while additional activities, expenses and emotional turmoil tends to increase.  With a little forethought, it is possible to have a healthy and joyful season, despite life stressors.

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