Seven Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

By Yavonda Chase

  1. PLAN AHEAD — Get a calendar or organizer early in the season and mark off activities to complete, along with the dates you plan to do them. Check your calendar before agreeing to new commitments. Prepare dishes ahead that you can freeze. Shop early to beat the holiday crowds.
  2. STICK TO A BUDGET — Don’t set yourself up for the January financial blues by overspending. Shop creatively. Look for bargains. Develop a theme for your gifts this year and focus more on the thought than the cost.
  3. TAKE ESPECIALLY GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF — Don’t sacrifice your exercise and adequate sleep to squeeze in more obligations. Limit the use of alcohol as it is a natural depressant. Decide before each holiday event how much you will allow yourself to indulge (just one piece of pumpkin pie, one cup of eggnog, etc.).
  4. KEEP EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC — Forget about perfection and concentrate more on having fun with parties, trimming the tree and decorating. Learn to say no when you start to feel overwhelmed. Don’t be driven by the expectations of others. Simplify your holidays and create new traditions.
  5. SEEK SUPPORT — If you feel isolated or down, seek out family and friends, or community and social services. Consider volunteering — getting involved can lift your spirits and create new friendships.
  6. SET ASIDE DIFFERENCES — Accept family and friends as they are even if they don’t live up to your expectations. Keep in mind that your loved ones may be experiencing holiday stress as well.
  7. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IF YOU NEED IT — Despite your best efforts you may find yourself anxious, irritable, moody or depressed. If these feelings persist, consider seeking professional help to address these symptoms.