The holidays are a time of joy, but for some, they can also bring the hardest time of year. Depression and stress can easily take center stage when things become overwhelming and cloud the opportunity to take a break and celebrate.
Here are seven tips from the professionals at the Mayo Clinic on how to help reduce stress and feeling low this season.
1) Be Realistic
The holidays don’t always have to be the same, to be a good time. As kids grow older or new relationships are formed, take time to hold onto some holiday traditions, while being open to creating new ones. Remember that rituals can change as life progresses.
2) Stick to a Budget
“Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts”, says the clinic. Sounds like good advice. Set a budget down that you want to stick to. Deal in cash. Do some research online, if you can, to decide what you are purchasing before going out to the store and being caught under the influence of fancy marketing tactics. And if gifts are out of the budget, try gifting favors, like offering to shovel snow or clean the house. People often jump at the chance for some extra help. They will love it!
3) Just Say No
It’s often impossible to please everyone over the holidays. Learning to say no to some engagements can eliminate exhaustion and too many commitments. Friends and family will understand-everyone needs to rest.
4) Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits
It is easy to be tempted to throw healthy habits out the window this season. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. As the Mayo Clinic says, overindulgence just adds to stress and guilt. Allow yourself a few treats but keep your limit, sleep a lot, and keep incorporating exercise into your day.
You’ll be thankful for it.
5) Take Time for Yourself
Keeping healthy means keeping some of that busy time for yourself. Take twenty minutes amidst the hustle and bustle and to sit down. Have a coffee and read the paper, listen to some music or enjoy some people watching to re-group. Let yourself relax before you keep going. Find activities that slow down your breathing and thoughts, like a walk by yourself, or taking a bath.
6) Share the Load
Is cooking for the whole group becoming too much? Ask others to help you out. Many people love potluck and are more than happy to bring a dish to dinner, making a meal a group effort.
Also think of asking others to help you buy gifts, or buy online and have them delivered. Share planning and responsibilities to greatly reduce stress levels.
7) Seek Professional Help
The Mayo Clinic says, “Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores”. If this is the case, go see your doctor or a mental health professional for advice and help. That’s what they’re there for.
Enjoy a stress-free season.