5 Tips to Reduce Stress This Holiday Season

December 16th, 2020

Holiday stress PartnerMD

The holiday season. In normal times, we’re celebrating with family, friends, and coworkers. It’s great and all, but the stress can add up.

And I think we can all agree — this is no normal time. So what can you do to reduce your stress this holiday season? Midlothian health coach Jaime Monsen offers five tips.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first one is acknowledging feelings. The holidays are very overwhelming. Most people can kind of get winter blues all on its own anyhow, as the weather’s changing and the sun goes down earlier, that we feel more depression come about.

So it’s important for you to acknowledge that this is something that happens to you or could happen to you this time of year. Also, we may be missing loved ones and we may be missing loved ones because they’re no longer with us, or they may be distant from us this year based on the illnesses we’re all experiencing.

Acknowledge that. Be prepared for it, and then feel free to reach out to your community. Here at PartnerMD, you have your health coach, you have your physician, but also reach out to the community around you. Churches, social group, friends, family, talk to those who can help you get through it.

If you feel like the emotional burden that comes with the holidays could be something that really wears you down, affects your stress, and it can affect your health, start planning and preparing for how you want to handle those in the upcoming times.

2. Be Realistic

The next thing is to be realistic. My second tip is to really have the right expectations, especially this year.

For one, holidays, as we get older, they change. Families change. Children get older. So what we used to do as holidays may change over time. However, this year we may be looking at different ways to have our holiday experience with our family and our loved ones.

Find new ways to celebrate, find new ways to be together and to connect. Don’t expect perfection, but keep growing with the changes and still connect and get together some different ways. You can connect, as you know, through virtual things like this. Technology is a great way to stay connected. Find games that you can do. Send in pictures. Anything like that, things that make you bonding and getting together appreciative and relaxing.

So the big thing is just learning to change with the times. This will add less stress and it’ll be less stressful if you’re not striving for perfection. That’s just too much of a burden for anyone. So you just want to have that expectation for the holidays even more so this year. So it’s not making you more upset and not feeling like you’re meeting everyone else’s needs.

3. Remember Your Budget

Third of all is budget, right? Budgets are very hard for many families all over,. We have these big expectations again, to splash people with these gifts and, and kind of do too much. So plan ahead of what you want to do, how much you’re willing to spend.

Also feel free to have this discussion with your family. You can have that open dialogue of things are a little tighter this year and we want to change how we’ve expressed our love for you, but can we do something else?

One great thing is just being together. So if you’re able to get together in a home and share memories, make some memories, and that’s a gift in itself, find ways to play games and engage. Or maybe you make gifts this year for each other. So there’s a lot of different ways to help stick to a healthy budget. But if you are going to be shopping, plan ahead of time. Know what your spending budget is. Have those discussions. Maybe cap some limits for you. So it’s not so stressful that you feel like you can’t please everyone, because that’s a lot of weight and a lot of burden and can cause a lot of stress.

4. Plan Ahead

The next thing is just to plan ahead in general. So when you’re looking at things like this, you want to plan ahead on your shopping, kind of map it out so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Start making those lists of who you want to get things for, who you want to make things for, who you might want to visit. So kind of look at your calendar. It’s easier to plan ahead and go with it. And rather than all of a sudden at the snap, second, you’re going to have to scramble to get all your stuff together. That’s very, very stressful.

Also look at your meals. So for many of us who want to continue to stay healthy and strong and build that immune system, which I know we all do, look ahead at your meal planning so that your holidays don’t get swept away and the next thing you know, the weight has carried on you becoming a little bit more unhealthy and your immune systems can become compromised.

So, you know, you really want to look ahead at how you can plan holiday events or holiday parties if that’s something you were going to be engaging in. And if you’re not sure how to map that out again, that’s where the health coach can come in. Contact your health coaches and let us help you figure that out so that you continue to stay balanced and focused on your health and lifestyle goals.

5. Relax.

Last but not least, my fifth tip for you is to relax. I know that’s a really hard one to do. That’s probably the most challenging for all of us this time, because the expectation is high and times are busy. But again, that’s where we want to use those other tips of being realistic of your goals.

But more importantly, this is also a time to take care of you. Don’t feel overburdened to take care of everyone else. You need to also take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t really be there for the others and your loved ones and do wonderful things that you look forward to this time of year.

So take some time. Go for a walk. Do something good for you. Relax through reading a book. Get a massage if that’s something you’re interested in doing. Find soothing ways of listening to music.

If you guys are into meditation or yoga, use your calm app, or do some yoga for relaxation. Do your breathing techniques. Find ways to just really calm yourself down.

And one of the most important words is no. So feel free to do that. I know it sounds silly, but it’s one of the biggest things. Many of us forget that you’re allowed to say, you know what? I can’t take all of this on and that’s okay. So don’t feel that overneed that you have to do everything, because that’s, again, not a realistic expectation for you.