’Tis the season (for holiday stress) — five tips that can help

November 9, 2022
Posted in HR Blog
November 9, 2022 Admin

’Tis the season (for holiday stress) — five tips that can help

Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means the holiday season is upon us. It seems like every year, the decorations go up sooner, the gift guides are published earlier, and the stress piles on faster. Besides busy personal lives, many of us have busy work lives. The end of the year can be a challenging, yet rewarding, time of year for companies to push to hit deadlines and achieve goals. Between cooking and cleaning, shopping and entertaining, plus trying to stay on top of your workload, it’s easy to see why stress at the end of the year increases for most people. According to telehealth company Sesame, three in five Americans feel that their mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays.

Here are five tips to keep the holidays merry and bright:

  • Reevaluate holiday traditions. It’s okay if there are traditions or rituals that no longer serve their purpose for you or your family. Take a step back before you get into the season to reflect on whether you’d like to continue with the same traditions or replace them with new ones. We only have so much time to celebrate the season, so it’s okay to say “no” to things, even if you’ve been doing them for years. Get your family and loved ones involved in the decision so everyone feels included and excited for the new customs.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. Try not to get caught up in the excitement of the season and overspend. With stores putting out holiday items as early as October (move over, Halloween), it’s understandable that we could spend more than we would like on decorations, gifts, and everything in between. Look at what you have from last year (decorations, wrapping paper, shipping materials, etc.) before buying new for this year. Add up estimated expenses for gifts, travel, and entertainment and figure out where you can cut back. Try a family gift swap rather than buying a present for each person. If you are hosting, ask people to bring side dishes and drinks. When you are shopping, make sure to have your list and price limit with you so you don’t go overboard.
  • Be realistic. Nothing is ever perfect, and the holidays are no exception. Families change and grow and there never seems to be enough time to do everything we want to do during the holiday season. Think about what parts of the holidays matter most to you and make sure to prioritize those elements. Things may look different than in years past, especially with the way the world has changed since COVID-19, but you can still find a way to celebrate and even hold on to traditions. Keeping an open mind and understanding that the holidays don’t have to look like a Hallmark movie will help you lower your stress.
  • Keep up with healthy habits. As the year winds down, our plans inevitably seem to ramp up. It’s easy to skip workouts and run around from activity to activity. Between all the shopping, parties, decorating, and cooking, who has time to exercise, right? While it may feel impossible, it is important to keep your workout and sleep schedule as normal as possible. Part of your busy schedule may include holiday parties, and it can be easy to overindulge. This can lead to more stress and guilt. Try having a healthy snack and drink plenty of water before going to any party or get-together to avoid going overboard on food, especially sweets and alcohol. But don’t feel guilty if you have one yummy cookie or slice of pie — it’s all about balance!
  • Lean into the magic. While the holiday season can certainly be stressful, it can also be a beautiful and enjoyable time. Andy Williams didn’t call it “the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing! When you get overwhelmed, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on what really matters during this season for you and your family. Think about what you value most and make the time for those things during the holidays. Whether it’s sledding with your children, having hot cocoa by the fire with your partner, or volunteering to help others, there are many activities that can bring us happiness. Often, the simple things during the holidays can bring us the most joy.

While the holiday season can be challenging, these tips can help keep stress under control so you can enjoy them. Happy holidays!