The holidays are always a busy time of the year. In 2020, though, the upcoming stress created by the end-of-year festivities is particularly concerning. With everything from politics and economic woes to a full-blown pandemic biting down hard, the end of the year is already going to be strained enough without tossing a bunch of events, shopping, and holiday get-togethers onto the heap.
Fortunately, as with most things, it’s possible to combat this natural holiday tendency towards stress, anxiety, and depression — especially if you keep the right things in mind heading into the season.
The first thing to remember as you enter the holidays is that stress is a completely normal part of life. In other words, it’s going to arise at times, no matter what. This is important to understand, as it can help you react to stress constructively.
For instance, if you realize that you’re feeling stressed and you immediately assume that it’s a problem, you may take steps to try to control and eliminate the stress. However, attempting to eliminate stress is akin to squeezing a bar of soap — the harder you try, the less likely you are to succeed.
Instead, remember that the best way to deal with stress is to try to manage it. Understanding and mitigating stress are always better than rampantly trying to control it. A few suggestions for ways to manage holiday stress include:
- Exercising to release those endorphins.
- Taking CBD oil to calm your nerves or drinking kratom tea to help with any chronic pain.
- Scheduling in family time to do some fun, stress-free projects together in-between all of the crazy.
There are plenty of ways to combat stress. Just make sure that your goal is to manage it, not eliminate it.
If you’re going to survive the hustle of the holidays, you need your body to keep up. With that in mind, make sure to consider the basic self-care needs of you and your loved ones as you head into the end of the year. This includes:
- Sleeping well: Don’t stay late at parties all month long. Try to get everyone home with enough time to consistently get 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Exercising regularly: This helps with stress and keeps your energy up in a healthy manner.
- Eating well: Make sure to avoid excessive amounts of junk food while you’re out and stock your home with a larder that is focused on a well-balanced diet.
By regularly tending to your sleeping, eating, and fitness needs, you can keep your body in tip-top shape throughout the holiday season.
Along with your body, it’s also important to consider your mind. Things like stress and emotional exhaustion can be extremely draining — as can attending an excessive number of social events during the Christmas season. If allowed to run rampant, this can exacerbate poor mental health which can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, and a host of other unpleasant side effects.
To combat this tendency, look for ways to remain self-aware as you go through the holidays (and beyond!), such as:
- Maintaining a morning routine to provide stability and consistency.
- Meditating and praying regularly.
- Practicing deep breathing exercises and using muscle relaxation scripts.
Whatever the specifics are that work for you, try to find the tools that can help you keep a clear mind this holiday season.
Your finances may feel out of control during the holidays — especially on a year when quarantines and economic disruption have left so many in tight fiscal circumstances. Nevertheless, it’s still much better to tackle your monetary concerns head-on, rather than just ignoring them until next year.
Start by creating a holiday budget. Consider what you can afford to put towards the holidays and then try to work within those bounds. Don’t be afraid to get creative. For instance, many holiday activities like gift-giving and travel are considered stereotypically expensive. However, holiday myths like these are fairly easy to debunk. With a little innovative thinking, you can look for homemade gift options, use a car instead of a plane, or set up a virtual holiday that requires no travel at all.
Finally, remember to be safe throughout all of your holiday activities. Getting sick or hurt unnecessarily will only add to the overall strain that you’re dealing with.
Additionally, make sure to watch out for cybersecurity and financial threats as well. Avoid storing your credit card information online whenever possible and don’t input personal information on sketchy websites that don’t have SSL protection.
The holidays don’t have to be a source of stress. On the contrary, if you prepare beforehand, you can manage the stress, stay safe, and have a grand old time as you finish out what has been one rollercoaster of a year.
So refer to the tips above, make mental notes of each, and then charge into the holiday season ready for some stress-free fun.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer that lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings. Find her on Twitter.