Let's Beat the Holiday Stress

Posted on by Angela Canova & Isabelle Brown

We have entered The Most Wonderful Time of the Year with cheerful decorations popping up everywhere, radio stations playing nonstop holiday music, and all our favorite seasonal movies making an appearance on every channel and streaming service.  

With all this comes many perceived notions about the holiday season. When people think about the holidays, they envision festive social gatherings, traditions, and happy memories.  

These expectations to make the most of the holiday season often lead to people feeling stressed, anxious, and even depressed from when the clock strikes midnight on Thanksgiving Eve all the way through and right up until we are done ringing in the New Year.  

How am I going to have the perfect Thanksgiving feast? What if I can’t afford the perfect holiday gift for the people I love? When it’s dark outside by the time I get out of work, how am I supposed to get all this holiday prep done? 

Holiday parties, Secret Santa swaps, decorating the house, shoveling your vehicle out of the snow, driving to see family, spending excess amounts of money, finding time to shop and cook... Someone make it stop! 

These unrealistic ideals of this season minimize the importance of life balance: mental, physical, and financial health.  

 

Why do the Holidays Give me Anxiety? 

Christmas decorations start appearing on the shelves earlier and earlier each year. “Christmas Creep” is real.  

This idea is based on past consumer behavior, allows consumers to spread their holiday shopping out to help their budget and avoid shopping during overcrowded times.  

This subconsciously adds to our holiday stress levels every time we enter a retail location. When we see the Christmas craziness begin in stores, it is common to instantly feel the weight of holiday pressure. 

We start to think not only about the gifts and decorations, but about every task that needs to be accomplished between that moment in time and when the holidays finally arrive. If you’re like me, you start to envision a check list in your head! 

These feelings of stress are perfectly normal. Think about it: in a short amount of time, we are expected to purchase and give the most perfect gift, respond yes to every holiday invitation, all while making sure that we have prepared an Instagram perfect holiday dinner.  

There is a lot of pressure to have an amazing holiday while pushing down the underlying stress of planning it all, especially for parents trying to create the magic of the holidays.  

 

Ways to De-Stress 

There are very easy ways to reduce your holiday stress or at the very least bring you small moments of peace in all the chaos. Here are four that we think will help: 

  1. Practice mindfulness. Don’t get caught up in the past or the future, stick to the present. While you may be feeling the pressure to be a perfect gift giver or host, remember that your loved ones will appreciate any gesture more than you realize. 
  2. Put yourself first. Go for a walk, drink plenty of water, and make sure to get plenty of rest. Moments of solitude and peace go a long way during stressful times.
  3. Prioritize your work and personal activities. Practice ways that work for you to stay organized. Try making lists for your work, personal activities, and then a separate list for your holiday responsibilities. 
  4. Keep your finances in check. Come up with a realistic dollar amount you can afford to spend and stick to it. Affordable or even handmade gifts can be extremely meaningful. 

 

You Got This! 

Taking these extra steps this year will help to keep your stress levels in check making it the “the hap-happiest season of all”.