How to Handle The Holidays

For many of us, the holiday season represents a much anticipated joyous time of the year; a time of happiness and good cheer. But for others, it’s a period of chaos, stress, and overwhelming expectations that has become synonymous with exhaustion, overeating, accruing debt, and enduring one’s relatives.

Just hearing the word “holiday” can create anxiety and stress for some people. We have little time to get a lot done, and it seems as if the year has just flown by. In fact, a survey by Consumer Reports found that 90 percent of Americans find at least one thing stressful about the holiday season.

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health.

If you are already experiencing stress in other areas of your life, you may be especially vulnerable to increased feelings of anxiety and depression during the holidays. However, you don’t have to let this time of year become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays.

Here are some tips to help you better cope with the days ahead:

  1. Take time for yourself. You may feel pressure to be everything to everyone, but there is only so much that one person can accomplish! Increase your energy and stamina by giving yourself a “time out.” All of us need time to recharge our batteries and self-care is often the best thing you can do. Plus, others will benefit when your stress is reduced and your mood is improved. Get a massage, read a new book, or take time out to listen to your favorite music.
  1. Maintain healthy routines. Don’t stop doing whatever it is you normally do throughout the year to keep yourself healthy. Eat nutritious foods, drink enough water, get enough sleep and keep exercising! Taking care of your health will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.
  1. Use a natural calming supplement. BrainMD Health’s own Everyday Stress Relief and GABA Calming Support are two natural supplement formulas that contain ingredients shown in clinical studies to help relax your body and mind so you can stay calm and healthy during stressful times.
  1. Learn to say “no.” Experts say that the holidays can make people feel out of control—at the mercy of tradition or expectations. But you DO have a say. The key is to take some control over the holidays; instead of letting them control you. Say “no” to events and activities that aren’t important to you. Be conscious about what you do, how you spend your time and energy. Don’t unthinkingly do things the same way just because that’s how you’ve always done them. If what you’re doing isn’t making you happy and is causing holiday stress, it’s time to do something different.
  1. Know your spending limit. Financial worries are one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Make a realistic budget to determine how much you can spend without jeopardizing your financial health. Then stick to it! Creating debt will only add to the stress you are already feeling.
  1. Let others help. You don’t have to do everything yourself – you can share your “to do” list with others. Ask for help! Enjoy spending time with friends and family while you share tasks like preparing the holiday meal, shopping, cleaning and decorating. You don’t have to be the hero of the holiday season.
  1. Give to those in need. The holidays are usually a time when everyone is focused on their families and friends. However, it’s also a great time to focus on giving to others in need. Research shows that volunteering not only alleviates stress but also increases health and happiness. Shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, work a few shifts at the local food bank, or donate a few gifts to a charity for children and families.

While you may not be able to completely avoid stressful situations during the holidays, you can plan to respond to them in a healthy way.