How to Find Cheer in Holiday Stress
In a way of life dominated by countless applications that basically run our lives, humans are experiencing something they have never experienced before. Holiday stress! Although it may seem like an oxymoron, holidays have of late become events that lead to stress rather than ones that relieve some of the mental stress accrued from our day to day routines.
The traditional holiday period might differ for every country and culture but post-Halloween is when things start to take a turn for the worse for some people in the U.S. If you are planning a vacation, the stress is elevated because of countless holiday destinations to choose from, and the thousands of hotels and apartments that are available via online platforms, applications and websites. Even if you are planning on staying at home and having the family over, the stress levels can be high because of all the planning that needs to be done and arrangements that have to be made, not to mention the preparation of the big meal of the day.
What exactly is the reason for this ironic situation? Isn’t it true that vacation time and family time are supposed to help you relieve stress that’s accumulated from your daily work life? What are some of the causes of this holiday stress?
Too much of anything can lead to mental stress. Psychiatrists have observed that holiday stress levels are usually higher in people who try to do too much in too little time. Levels are also higher when the person is already physically or mentally exhausted.
Spending time with your family usually has a positive impact on a person’s life but it can also breed negativity in some cases especially if it feels forced or unnecessary. Similarly, planning too many activities and outings, even those that are supposed to be enjoyable, can also increase your stress levels.
Going over budget
Overindulgence in gift-giving, home decorating, buying new clothes, etc. for the holiday season can sometimes leave a gaping hole in your wallet. Society puts tremendous pressure on individuals to have fun and indulge in holiday celebrations. Since running out of money is one of the most stressful situations that anyone can find themselves in, keeping to the budget is one thing that might alleviate your holiday stress.
Too much togetherness or not nearly enough
Holidays can be a confusing time because some people find themselves lonely and depressed, while others feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Traditionally speaking, the holidays are a time for extended families to come together. Although family time can be necessary for some people’s peace of mind, that entirely depends on the individual families involved. Overdosing on family togetherness can also bring you to the edge if your family is particularly challenging.
For those of you who do not see your family and friends that often, the holidays can be stressful because of loneliness. It can be difficult watching everyone around you gearing up for the holiday season, as more and more friends and families come together and get into the holiday spirit.
It is really important to understand that each person needs and expects different things out of the holiday season. It is important to find your comfort zone and focus on getting into the holiday cheer in your own way.
What can you do to find some cheer in the holiday season?
The best thing about holiday stress is that the warning signs are there for you to see from the beginning. As you already have an idea when your holiday stress might begin, pre-planning some stuff might help you reduce your stress. Let us discuss some tips that will help you reduce this depression during the holidays.
1. Minimizing holiday stress – Take steps to ensure that your holiday stress does not take over your mind. Another condition that many people aren’t aware of is a thing called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This subtle condition can last over the entire winter season and can cause stress or unhappiness. As the days keep on getting shorter and the cold weather causes people to stay indoors, a certain kind of depression takes over. Taking small steps to ensure that the negative impact of holiday depression does not completely rid you of your holiday cheer, such as taking walks outdoors, might go a long way to help.
2. Set your priorities – Overdosing on holiday activities can also be stressful so it is important to set your priorities early. It is up to the individual to decide which traditions to partake in and which activities to sit out. With so many things to do at once, we tend to miss out on things we really wish to do and then end up feeling exhausted from doing things we didn’t really want to do. Pre-plan to participate in activities you enjoy and skip the ones you are not interested in.
3. Redefine togetherness – It is important to be aware of your shortcomings and mood swings whenever you are planning an activity or a holiday with your friends or family. Look back on past experiences and estimate how much togetherness your family can handle without going at each other. Is it possible to reduce the amount of time spent with the family without cutting in on the joy? Family time is different for each individual and it has both positive and negative impacts depending on the nature of relationships within the family. A psychiatrist can help you find out what is going to work for you. If you reside in the MetroWest (Massachusetts) area, you can head over to Novum Psychiatry and have a chat with one of the helpful staff members. They have helped hundreds of folks deal with their holiday depression and stress. Schedule an appointment soon!
4. Remember to breathe – Although this is the most common advice given to people experiencing stress, it is still one of the big ones. Sometimes, a little oxygen can go a long way. It is also really beneficial if you make a habit of meditation – for example, merely stopping and taking 10 minutes of deep breaths can also help you drag yourself away from an anxiety or panic attack.
The most important thing to remember is that holiday stress is a real issue that can have really bad consequences for your mind and health if mismanaged. It is better to plan ahead and remember not to over-indulge in the holiday celebrations. Not only will that reduce your stress, but it will also leave enough room for you to enjoy the holidays.