Handling Holiday Stress

“Oh no, I forgot to frost the cookies, order the ham, finish the holiday cards, wrap the packages, clean the house, buy the cranberry sauce, and call Aunt Jennie and invite her to dinner.”  

Pick any of the above and make your own list which could include the stress of traveling, money shortages, and gift-giving ideas. The common theme of it all is HOLIDAY STRESS!

Each year, and let’s hope this one is very different than the covid-themed one of last year, it is easy to say yes to too much! 

With that being said, regardless of your holiday commitments, there are a few things that can help DE-STRESS the holidays. So, let’s take a look!

  1. Celebrate and focus on what you really and happily can do. Make a list of the things that will make you feel good to accomplish this holiday season, and stick to it. Doing a small number of things well should be your focus. Now, if you have some large tasks to accomplish, it can be less stressful when you delegate some things to others. You are having dinner, which can be very stress-filled? Just remember to share the love! Tell people what you are offering and let them what you need them to bring. Most people will help, especially when you ask. That’s usually all you have to do. Keep this in mind for all large holiday tasks.
  2. Accept imperfections. So, what if it isn’t perfect? Have you ever watched a cooking show, and the chef says, “it’s not perfect, it’s rustic?” What a great way to approach things that don’t need to look perfect but can still turn out great. Use the same approach. Have a rustic holiday this season, and smile while doing it! 
  3. Finally, because reading a long article may add more stress to your life, remember these last few things:
    1.  Get enough sleep.
    2.  It really is ‘the thought that counts, not the price tag’.
    3.  Four deep breaths really do help calm a person down when stressed.
    4. If you know you have a busy day ahead - plan a ‘reward’ (candy bar, movie, cup of coffee, time with a friend) that you can look forward to when the work is completed. It is amazing how knowing that a reward is waiting for you can make the current stressors a little easier to handle. 

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.   Whether it's depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, or some other issue, Firelands Counseling & Recovery Services provides a full spectrum of outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment in Ohio. If you have questions about our behavioral health services or would like more information, contact us at  419-557-5177.

There is a quote by writer David Allen that helps sum it all up around the holiday. “You can do anything, but not everything.”  Happy Holidays!

Written by: Tim Wise LPCCs, Firelands Counseling & Recovery Services