10 Tips For Coping With Holiday Stress

By: Cheryl Hitchcock DSW, ADC

Even though the holidays are an exciting time of year, they can also be a burden. Many people feel a great amount of stress, anxiety, and worry while trying to create the perfect holiday. Learning skills for coping with holiday stress can make a big difference. These coping skills can be useful whether you’re dealing with a major stressor or things on a smaller scale. The ability to cope with holiday stress will help you to enjoy the season and all of the treasures it brings.

holiday stress meditationHere are ten tips for coping with the holidays:

  1. Other people are willing to help. Get the word out that you need help and most of the time help will arrive. Most people appreciate being needed and are willing to chip in a hand.
  2. Plan your holiday calendar in advance. Perhaps you have too much on your plate and need to only choose certain parties to attend or limit your shopping days. Having a holiday calendar can help you plan shopping trips ahead of time and not go to the same store twice. Also, scheduling in quiet time, exercise, and do-nothing time will keep you relaxed.
  3. A budget is your best friend. If you want to make sure you pay your credit card off at the end of the month, keep a budget. Save receipts in an envelope and give yourself a reward for staying inside your limit.
  4. Write in a journal. Journaling can help you know how you really feel about a situation. It is a great tool for gaining clarity and working through your feelings. Review it to see the progress you’re making as the holiday season progresses.
  5. Start a meditation practice. Meditation is a good skill to have for coping with holiday stress. When you meditate, it’s important to spend a few moments in stillness, such as closing your eyes and watching your breath or lighting a candle and concentrating on it. These quiet moments will help recharge your body, mind, and spirit.
  6. Let go of expectations. When you expect things to be a certain way, it can be a huge let down. Instead, of creating expectations, be open to surprises and spontaneity. Know that by just letting things be as they are you can have an even greater appreciation and wonder of life. Every holiday season is different, so appreciate the one that is in front of you.
  7. You are your own worst enemy. If things don’t go as planned or you burn the main course, know that it happens to everyone. Rather than chastising yourself, try to be your own best friend. Imagine what that person would say to you and take comfort. Laugh, make light of the situation, and give yourself a break.
  8. Know you only have control over yourself. If you have a dysfunctional family or a loved one who behaves badly, the most important thing you can do is to be responsible for yourself. You can choose your attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, so choose wisely.
  9. There is power in forgiveness. When people refuse to forgive they continue to focus on the hurt, even though it is in the past. Holding resenting doesn’t fix anything. Forgivenss is powerful because when you truly forgive, you see things more clearly, such as all the love and blessings in your life.
  10. Volunteer your time. If you are one of the many people who is alone for the holidays, consider volunteering at a food bank, church, community center, or wherever moves you. This final suggestion for coping with holiday stress is a great way to meet people and celebrate the season.