Coping with Holiday Stress Advice from Years of Experience

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Coping with holiday stress can be a major challenge during such a busy time of year. Your "to do" list becomes longer as you begin to itemize all the things you are trying to get done in a limited amount of time.  The days can become frantic and you can become frazzled if you are not careful and plan for the many events and tasks that need to be handled.  So how can you keep your sanity?  Here is a little bit of advice from years of experience.

Learn from History.

Take time to thoroughly review last year’s events.  What went well last year?  Even if some of the family activities were stressful, we’re certain that there were events or activities that you would like to include again this year.  Creating holiday traditions adds a personalized touch and are make the special season more meaningful, so when you are coping with holiday stress, try to eliminate those activities that cause the tension and keep your favorite traditions.

Some activities you may wish to include again this year, but with improvements.  So here is some advice: take a sheet of paper and create two columns.  On the left column, list the events and activities that went well so that you can include them again.  On the right hand column, list those activities that you do not wish to include again.  Okay.  So you might have to include the family dinner even if you would prefer to list it as a do not include item on the right hand column.  Let’s think about how coping with holiday stress can be designed so that you don’t find yourself dangling on your last strand of rope.

Limit Your Stressors.

Much of the time successfully coping with holiday stress comes from good time management strategies, limiting the amount of tasks you are taking on, and watching family dynamics in holiday get-togethers.

Review last year’s activities.  What caused the stress?  If it was from scheduling too many activities, then, this year, cut back where you can.

What influences caused you to go off track in your holiday celebrations?  Did you feel pressure to spend more money than you could comfortably afford, just to keep up with family or friend’s expectations?  If so, set a holiday buget and stick to it.  Start new family traditions that are inexpensive and that keep you within your holiday budget.

Do you dread the family holiday celebration?  If coping with holiday stress included dealing with difficult family dynamics at this holiday gathering then limit the time you agree to spend hosting or participating in such events.  Make arrangements to be involved in other activities that allow you to stay away from the family fray.

Plan Ahead.

What can you plan for this year to improve the celebrations?  You know what activities and traditions you want to keep.  You know what you want to scrap. We always seem to talk about time management and planning, but really if you can pace yourself by scheduling your cooking, shopping and decorating over the weeks before the holidays become all consuming with festivities, you will see a difference for yourself.  You will have more time to actually enjoy the holidays.

And when you are making your plans for the holidays, don’t forget to include time to participate in meaningful worship, giving or service activities.  You may find it invigorating to assist with a charity or volunteer at a food bank.  Sharing with others is a tradition that creates a sense of wellbeing and speaks to what the holiday season represents.

Effective Stress Management for the Holiday Season

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