Decrease Holiday Stress… Increase Jo

This year, decrease holiday stress…and increase holiday joy

The holidays are here. And along with the joys of the season, often come seasonal stressors — lack of time, financial strain and pressure to complete holiday chores on top of our everyday responsibilities. Introduce the complexities of family relationships and the prevailing economic woes, and we really can feel overwhelmed.

According to a national survey by the American Psychological Association, holiday stress can mean some of us are more likely to experience sadness, sleep problems and lack of energy. If you are prone to experiencing greater stress during the holiday season, consider these suggestions to lessen the pressure this year:

  1. Keep realistic expectations. It’s easy to expect too much of the holidays and then feel disappointed when things don’t work out as we imagined.  The truth is there is no “perfect” holiday celebration.
  2. Do more of what you enjoy. Which parts of the holiday season do you want in your life?  Which parts would you prefer to do without?
  3. Budget your time. Be realistic about what you actually have time to accomplish and prioritize your activities accordingly.
  4. Don’t overspend. Create a holiday budget and stick to it. Be sure to include all costs, besides presents, such as big family dinners, wrapping paper, decorations, parties, etc.
  5. Remain flexible. Over-planning tends to create too much tension.
  6. Accept known problems and prepare to deal with them. If your brother and brother-in-law frequently argue at family gatherings, plan ahead how you will handle this situation.
  7. Don’t forget to breathe. Pencil in some down time to alleviate stress.  Be sure to get outside for some fresh air and sunlight to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that is common in the darker, winter months.

Happy Holidays from Metropolitan Family Services!

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