Navigating holiday stress

Tips to help navigate holiday stress

We are in the throes of the holiday season and time is already at a premium. How do families navigate the season without going crazy? Michigan State University Extension encourages you to read these conscious steps one can take to prevent holiday stress and ensure worry-free season, from the American Psychological Association (APA).

Take time for yourself - There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Schedule some quiet time for yourself. This could be a quiet walk or getting a massage. Be determined to do at least one positive and fun thing for yourself this season.

Volunteer - As a family, help someone else. Find a charity in your community such as a soup kitchen or an organization that helps adopt-a-family program. By helping those that are living in true poverty helps put you and your family life in perspective.

Have realistic expectations - Decide what is good for your immediate family and stick with it. Try to stick to your regular routine as close as possible. Fight perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. Try to view inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience.

Remember what is important - Manage the holiday hype. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in all the holiday advertisements to the point where you forget what the holiday season is about. Try to remember what makes a great celebration. It is the family. Not the decorations, expensive presents and fancy food.

Seek support - Be aware and acknowledge what the stressors really are and what this time of year really takes out of a person. Talk about anxiety with your friends and family. A good trick to manage stress is to stick the word, “NO” on the phone or in a location that you see often, if you are susceptible to saying, “yes” to every request of your time.

If you continue to feel overwhelming, consider seeing a professional to help you manage your holiday stress.

According to the APA, it is normal to feel overwhelmed during the holiday season. It is important to keep things in perspective and realize that the material part of the holidays isn’t the real spirit but about the family and togetherness. Take the steps now to have a stress and worry free holiday season.

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