Holiday Stress: 8 Ways to Cope With Stress During the Holidays

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Did you know that 88% of Americans consider the holiday season the most stressful time of year? This time of year is filled with activities, from holiday parties to family events. While the Christmas season is meant to bring feelings of cheer and love, it can bring about feelings of holiday stress for many people. 

If you need help managing holiday stress, you’re not alone. Family reunions can bring about conflict, and shopping excursions can cause great anxiety. 

This guide includes our top eight-holiday stress tips to help you cope with Christmas season holiday stress. 

1. Set Holiday Intentions 

Make the conscious decision to enjoy this time as much as you can. By doing so, you’re opening yourself up to true happiness and overall improved well-being. You’re less likely to miss uplifting moments, and you even might notice them more than if you hadn’t set that intention. 

When you set an intention, you prep your brain for positive things to happen. When you allow yourself to feel positive emotions, you can become more receptive, sensitive, and open to future experiences. You’ll start to soak up more positive experiences and feelings as a result. 

2. Honor Your Emotions 

While we all want to have positive thinking all of the time, it’s not always realistic or practical. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you’re feeling in the moment, whether it’s loneliness or sadness. 

Try to anticipate moments where you might be feeling down. These types of moments can happen, especially if you’ve recently lost someone or are away from your family. 

One way to practice self-care during the holidays is by journaling your feelings. You can use this time to connect and express your emotions in a healthy manner. 

If you start to feel down, don’t wait to do something about it. Make an appointment with your therapist or schedule time with a loved one to talk on the phone. 

3. Regain Focus By Taking a Break 

Holiday to-do lists can get very long. To practice stress-free holiday shopping, make sure you take a break. Some things you can do during your breaks include:

Let yourself relax by pivoting out of the mode of constantly doing something. It can be difficult to completely disengage from the busyness of the season. However, it’s well worth it to take the time to slow down and get focused. 

4. Live in the Moment 

Let your body register all of the moments when you feel good. One way to do that is to savor the sensation for 15-30 seconds. 

Savoring positive experiences will strengthen your body’s response to them. The longer you hold onto moments where you feel good, the more the memory will become embedded in the brain. 

The important thing to keep in mind is don’t let these good moments be fleeting. Enjoy them and keep them close to your heart during the holiday season. 

5. Be Generous 

Participating in an altruistic act is a great way to stimulate the “pleasure” part of your brain. If you feel like you want to be generous, you should act on that feeling. You’ll start to notice your mind and body expanding as you are generous to other people. 

Monitor how good you feel when you do something for another person without expecting something in return. A generous act doesn’t necessarily have to center around donating money. Some other examples include:

  • Giving a friend your full attention
  • Opening the door for someone 
  • Calling a family member, you haven’t spoken to in a while

Let yourself feel all the feelings that come with generosity. Know that what you’re doing is contributing to the overall well-being of another person. 

6. Practice Gratitude 

Reflect on each of your life’s blessings every day. Be fortunate for everything you have. Directly express feelings of appreciation to loved ones. 

A great way to practice gratitude is to write down something you feel grateful for every day. Try to do at least three things, but taking the time to think of one will make a difference. By expressing gratitude to your loved ones, you’ll feel closer to them. 

7. Create a Holiday Sanctuary 

The atmosphere of your home and workspace is the primary foundation for your overall well-being. It also represents how we feel both inside and out. 

Infuse as many holiday vibes as you can into your environment. Purchase an essential oil diffuser and utilize different holiday scents. Some popular ones include:

  • Spruce
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom

Lighting also plays a huge factor in creating a cozy atmosphere. Candles not only give off muted lighting but Christmas scents as well. 

One idea is to purchase a few pillar candles. Use them to create a “fireplace” in a small area of your home. Decorate them with different items that give you feelings of cheer. 

8. Have Fun 

Do you remember how exciting the holiday season was when you were a child? Allow yourself to feel those sensations again. Be around children in your family so you can partake in their feelings of joy. 

Look for events in your community, like tree lighting ceremonies or parades. You can soak up the feelings of joy from those around you as you enjoy holiday activities. 

While the holidays can be stressful for most people, don’t dwell on those feelings. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel, but be ready to move on to feelings of joy. 

Use Our Tips to Effectively Manage Holiday Stress

Sometimes holiday stress can happen, even if you prepare for it. Follow our eight tips for managing it so you can enjoy the holiday season to its full potential. 

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