Feel Blessed, Not Stressed, With These Coping Tips

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

Gathering together at the holidays should be a time for joy, but for many the annual rituals can be anxiety-inducing.
If you’re feeling more stressed than blessed this holiday season, here are ways to cope with four of the most common issues that tend to put people in panic mode.
Perfectionist Tendencies. Hosting everyone this year? Repeat after us:
It’s okay to ask for help, my table,meal, house don’t have to be perfect, and nobody will ever know about all of the Pinterest crafts I didn’t get to.
If the pressure to have a Martha Stewart-esque holiday has you stymied, try to remember that the holidays are simply about being together, in all our imperfect glory.
Too Much to Do. Too much of a good thing – parties, shopping, eating – can leave you feeling run-down and exhausted. Learn the power of the word “no”. Sift through your holiday invites and make a conscious decision to only attend the parties that mean the most to you.
Instead of agonizing over everything you still need to get done – such as shopping for gifts, planning a menu, and buying food – make a detailed to-do list and set aside time for tackling it piece by piece on your calendar. By planning ahead and being organized, you’ll regain control over the holiday hustle and bustle. Use some of your newfound free time to squeeze in a little exercise, healthy eating, and rest to further de-stress yourself.
Difficult Relatives. If everyone in your family is perfect, stop reading and go buy a lottery ticket, because you’re truly lucky. For everyone else, you’ve probably got that one cousin, uncle, or great-aunt who knows how to push your buttons. Maybe you don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to religion, politics, or other sensitive issues. Maybe you’re the one who likes getting a reaction out of your relatives! Have a game plan before you even walk in the door this year. Don’t bring up subjects you know will lead to disagreements. If others bring them up, don’t engage. Taking the high road is hard, but keeping the peace at least one day of the year will be worth it to the rest of the family gathered, especially if there are kids at the table.
Family Changes. The holidays can sometimes make people feel sad or depressed because they highlight what’s changed since last year. Divorce, death, the loss of a job, medical struggles, and having a child move away, are all serious life changes that can be depressing, especially around the holidays. Take a minute (or more) to experience your sadness before the holidays. Try to focus on what you are thankful for and take solace in those things. Positive thinking can go a long way, but if you can’t escape dark feelings or depression, see a professional who can help you sort through your feelings.
What else stresses you out about the holidays? Tell us how you cope in the comments.
Photo credit: Jess and Colin Liotta

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