Stressing Out? 5 Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress
The holidays can bring many things - joy, happiness and wonderful connections- as well as other things... like STRESS! Studies have shown that women are more likely to feel holiday stress than men leading to anxiety, depression and irritability. As women, our schedules are already filled to the brim - add the holiday cooking, decorating and gift-giving to the equation and you have a formula for a potential mental breakdown.
According to a recent online survey, when asked, “How Stressful is the Holiday Season for You?"
• 42 % responded, “very stressful”,
• 38 % “somewhat stressful” and
• 18% “not feeling stressful at all”.
About 80% felt somewhat or very stressed during the holidays!
How about you?
If you’re one of these people in the 80%, help is on the way!
Let’s first start with the top 3 triggers that increase our stress levels - especially during the holidays!
All the shopping and parties can leave us exhausted and feeling wiped out. From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, our sleeping hours can be severely compromised - creating a vicious cycle of exhaustion and increased stress. Chores and errands may take a higher priority than exercise and sleep. To make matters even worse, by burning the candle at both ends, we make ourselves more susceptible to colds and flu infections.
Given these top triggers, let’s explore strategies that help make the holidays more jolly and less nerve-wracking.
“Five Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress”
Yes, you may want to think that you are wearing a red cape and are unstoppable but you're not. As women, we tend to multi-task and during the holidays, this talent can reach its greatest challenge. We juggle more and more things until we can’t take it anymore. Well, stop juggling! Take a few things off your “to do” list, start delegating tasks to your partner and your kids, and start saying “NO” to projects that you don’t want to do. And remember, not everything has to be perfect—Martha Stewart is not keeping tabs on you!
Express your stress and let it out. Be honest with those around you who will support you and be empathetic. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open up. Many times, just by voicing our fears, they can feel less threatening and overwhelming.
3) Don’t break the bank – stick to a budget.
The most precious things in life don’t necessarily need to cost a fortune. Remember, meaningful, heartfelt experiences are priceless. No purchase could ever compare to the feeling of happiness and connection that the holidays can bring by simply spending quality time together. So, before you head out to the department stores and grocery, decide how much money you can afford to spend and then stick to your budget. Don't give into the commercialism and hype around you. Homemade gifts, like framed photographs, can bring back wonderful memories and are priceless!
Allow yourself some “down time” without distractions. Listening to the ocean, walking in the park or just plain breathing are some examples. Check in with yourself during the day – are you feeling stressed? If the answer is a resounding "Yes!", please do my favorite 60 second breathing exercise throughout the day.
- Dr. Diana