It’s not news to anyone that the holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year for many. From conflict with family and financial strain to just plain stress about having an enjoyable time and making sure others do, too, this time of year can present many challenges. The following six tips can keep you feeling more grounded and in control of your emotional response, and that can make all the difference.
- Practice mindfulness by tuning into your environment in order to move your focus back to the present and away from your worries. Count holiday decorations in a store, like the number of Santas you see while you’re shopping. If you’re at a holiday party or meal, focus on the taste of food. Count how many times you are chewing each bite.
- Take steps each day during the holiday to bring your baseline anxiety down so that your threshold for what you can tolerate increases. Do this by taking a couple minutes at night to count your breath or do progressive muscle relaxation which is when you methodically tense and relax specific muscle groups beginning at your toes and going up to your eyebrows. Spend extra time petting your dog and focusing on the softness of its fur or take extra time on your daily walk.
- Limit alcohol use and be mindful of its impact on your behavior and thinking.
- Try to find ways to keep exercise in your routine as physical activity is essential to managing anxiety and stress.
- If this is your first holiday season after the loss of a loved one, be deliberate about taking time to honor that person in some way. Avoidance only increases negative emotions like anxiety or sadness.
- Remind yourself that the holiday season is temporary. This too shall pass.
Happy Holidays to You and Yours!