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5 Strategies to Survive Memorial Day Stress

Does Memorial Day weekend mean summer, carefree days, barbeques and gatherings of family and friends for you? Or is your weekend tense, lonely or filled with holiday stressors such as traffic, crowds, bad weather, food gone bad, high expectations and conflict?

Or are you someone who hears about everyone else’s Memorial Day plans, knowing that you are one of the many who will be working?

These are are few strategies that you can use to deal with Memorial Day stressors:

Acceptance:  Holiday hassles, loneliness and unmet expectations happen to all of us.  Life is imperfect no matter who or where you are.  If reality TV has taught us anything, it’s that tension and conflict happen to everyone. Bad weather can happen despite planning and frequent checks of the news. Responding when hassles and problems occur with acceptance keeps stress and anxiety from building.  It can be hard to let go of your expectations, but sometimes you have to make a choice to change your plans and your outlook.

Relax: Many of us view Memorial Day weekend as a time or relaxation.  But if you’re beginning the weekend after a pressured week at work or you have other demands in your life, you may need to actively carve out time to relax. This is especially true if your weekend starts with hassles and problems—say a traffic jam, a list of household chores, a broken washing machine or rain storm—that interfere with your original plans.  A few quiet moments of deep breathing or muscle relaxation can help you release pent up stress and roll with problems that crop up.

Exercise: It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling lonely, are stressed because the weather isn’t cooperating with your plans or you’re over-scheduled.  Stress activates a process in the body preparing you for action.  Exercise can be both a release for pent up nervous energy a mood booster from the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancer.

Eat Healthy:  A long holiday weekend can be an excuse for overeating and eating unhealthy foods. You may not want to spend the weekend ruminating about obesity, heart disease, diabetes or your expanding waste line, but you can allow yourself a few indulgences and still maintain a healthy balance.

Let Go of Work Worries:  You may physically be out of the office, but still be stuck in thoughts from the workweek. Unproductive worries are sure to interfere with your ability to relax and notice happy times around you.  If you are worrying about things that you cannot change, try to catch yourself worrying, acknowledge that you’re concerned or bothered and then tell yourself to let your worries go.

You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.


5 Strategies to Survive Memorial Day Stress

Christy Matta, MA

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APA Reference
Matta, C. (2012). 5 Strategies to Survive Memorial Day Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 May 2012
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