‘Tis the Season: Helpful Hacks to Manage Holiday Stress

Yes, this can be the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also seem like the most stressful time of the year. Shopping, travel and family time can leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and, in some cases, even depressed. With retail shopping sales set to increase this year and the number of those traveling during the holidays on the rise, stress-inducing activities at the end of the year seem to only be intensifying.

It’s important to remember that much of the stress during the holidays can be managed. To help, here are three common stress-inducing scenarios with tips on how to navigate them and keep your festive spirit intact.

  1. Stressful Situation: Shopping ‘til You Drop
    Finding the perfect gift for every family member and loved one can be a strenuous, time-consuming process. Hours spent amongst crowds moving from store to store can do a number on both your physical and mental health.
    What to do: It’s fun to surprise people, but not if it comes at the expense of your sanity. Next, be sure to do your research. With online shopping purchases set to increase by more than 13 percent this year, chances are you can find the perfect gift without even leaving your house. Also, try not to procrastinate—that will only make you feel more frantic. Take a few evenings early this month make a list and buy the majority of your gifts and you’ll feel a lot more relaxed. Remember, the holidays are not about gifts, so keep everything in perspective.
  2. Stressful Situation: Taking Planes, Trains and Automobiles
    2016 holiday travel is set to be one of the busiest seasons to date. An estimated 48.7 million Americans traveled during Thanksgiving week alone, meaning many of us will hit the road at some point before the end of the year. Busy airports and roads equal more crowds, delays and traffic, which can be frustrating and exhausting.
    What to do: Try to build in plenty of extra time so you aren’t nervous about missing your flight or getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And equipping yourself and your family with comforting items (a favorite blanket or pair of slippers) and activities will result in a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. You might even want to download a meditation app so you can really tune out.
  3. Stressful Situation: Family Dynamics
    It’s always nice to see relatives, but varying viewpoints on topics like politics and current events can create a high-stress environment.
    What to do: Purposefully keeping your conversations to personal one-on-one updates and anecdotes, versus sensitive subjects like politics, allows for a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Should someone else initiate an uncomfortable conversation, politely and confidently let them know you’d like to talk about something else and shift to a neutral topic (“Are we going to see a white Christmas this year?”).

Photo credit: Diariocritica de Venezuela

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