Tips to Ease Holiday Stress
Video by Michael Parker
If just the thought of the holidays sets off a sense of dread, consider approaching the season differently this year.
Dr. David Buys, Mississippi State University Extension Service health specialist, has some simple, practical tips to help you.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. Don’t focus on making the holidays perfect. Be open to creating new traditions, especially if your family is growing or changing.
- Make a list and prioritize the activities. Schedule the most demanding tasks for the time of day you are most energetic and alert. Schedule an easy job after a difficult one to stay motivated.
- Make time for yourself. Spend just 30 minutes alone listening to music or taking a walk to refresh your focus and motivation.
- Ask for support. Accept help from family and friends. Sharing responsibilities can help you connect.
- Stick to a budget. Overspending can create more anxiety and stress.
- Stick to healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. Don’t overindulge in holiday treats.
- Say no. Take on only what you can handle. You will avoid feeling bitter and overwhelmed if you participate in only the activities you really want to do.
- Reach out. If you don’t have family or friends to spend the holidays with, consider volunteering your time to help others or attending community events.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept others for who they are. Set aside criticisms. Try to be understanding of others’ feelings. They are stressed too.
- Live in the moment. Leave the past behind and enjoy the present.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of year you dread. Take control by using some of these strategies to make the holidays enjoyable.
For some, the holidays will trigger extreme stress and depression. If you notice changes in behavior, such as excessive drinking, difficulty paying attention, loss of interest in normal activities, or different eating and sleeping patterns, in yourself or someone else, consider seeking professional help. See your doctor or mental health professional.
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