mental health

Super-simple tips to cope with holiday stress

The holiday season is almost here and guess who can’t keep calm and hold excitement!! The season of gifts and cheers, enjoyment and togetherness; holiday season indeed brings the kid in me back.

However, this may not be the same for most of us. With all the fun and cheer that holidays bring in, the stress related to the holiday season couldn’t be neglected.

cope up with holiday stress

According to the research, 80% of the people find this season super stressful rather than an occasion filled with joy and celebration. People get back into their addictive mode to cope with their holiday stress and this indeed is the matter to ponder upon.

Do you feel anxious about the thought of meeting your extended family and answering all their bombarding questions? or do you feel like finding an escape route to avoid the discussion of party planning or the perfect gift hunt? Maybe, you aren’t into being a shopaholic during holidays and find it stressful to manage the idea of coping with new expenses.

If you feel the same, you’re not alone for the majority of us feel this holiday anxiety as we approach the Christmas season.

Money and family responsibilities are some of the top sources of stress in America.

Mental health and holidays

The fact that holidays can be super stressful and bring anxiety couldn’t be neglected. People with mental health issues find this really depressing and holidays remain no fun anymore. You may be triggered by past trauma or some abusive family member, toxic relationship, recent loss, and whatnot.

These factors can adversely affect your mental health and make it difficult to cope with holiday stress. However, though it may not be entirely possible to remain stress-free during holidays, we can certainly help ourselves out to remain as sane as possible.

cope up with holiday stress

In the end, it’s totally on us to deal with the situations that trigger our anxiety.

( I’m not a professional, so if you’re facing serious issues I would highly recommend you to consult the professional therapist)

The most common symptoms of Holiday – related stress

Holiday stress is no more a myth and so are the symptoms that you may face while approaching this festive celebration. Stress can create tension in different parts of our bodies, here are some symptoms that you may face due to stress during the holiday season.

  • Autumn Anxiety ( Fun Fact – Autumn anxiety is different from SAD ( Seasonal anxiety disorder) but the good news is, you can totally cope up with your Autumn anxiety. Read this to know how!!)
  • insomnia ( Here’s how you can get rid of insomnia)
  • headache
  • body ache
  • uneasiness in stomach
  • irritation
  • mood swings
  • bad mental health day ( Here’s your toolkit for bad mental health day)

Who gets affected during Holiday season stress?

While the holiday season affects every one of us differently, I totally believe that the holiday season could be most difficult for someone who lost their loved ones or is recovering from past trauma.

Well, we all have different expectations from this season and many of us don’t like the idea of family gathering and socializing. This period could be super challenging for every one of us who finds it difficult to get along with people.

If you’re an anti-social or an introvert, the thought of celebration during holidays could be super stressful and depressing. It could be really intimidating to show up your best self by perfect meal planning or selecting the most adorable gifts for your loved ones or declutter your home to decorate it like Pinterest- worthy!!

This could bring a lot of stress and mental break-down. The idea of answering uncomfortable questions to my family makes me feel so anxious, at times I feel like hiding in my rabbit hole.

However, we all have different reasons for getting stress and depression during the holiday season.

Let’s list out a few of them:

The causes behind stress during the holiday season:

I will be super real and authentic here. It may make us feel guilty for stressing over this beautiful season of celebration but trust me, you’re not alone.

We all have our different reasons but that in no sense means that we cannot enjoy this glorious festival. There are some tips to help you manage and cope with holiday stress but let’s get into the cause before discussing the cure:

  • High-expectations
  • Autumn anxiety
  • SAD
  • Financial crisis
  • Mid-life crisis
  • Overwhelm
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Past trauma
  • Introvertedness
  • Last moment preps
  • Self-doubt

There can be multiple reasons for feeling stressed out during holidays but you can surely cope up with your holiday stress with these tips.

How to cope up with Holiday Stress?

I know, many of you would be totally looking for this section and I’m so glad that I found some managing tips to beat the Christmas anxiety last year. I then decided to put up this piece early enough so that you can start with these tips right before the holiday anxiety curbs you.

Let’s quickly get into some helpful tips to beat holiday blues:

This is the best part, seriously. Sometimes we have pre-assume that the difficult or tough time will stay forever and that we can never be able to help ourselves out. This isn’t true. You can conquer everything you set your mind to. It only takes the correct mindset to visualize things in a better way.

1. Have realistic expectations

At times, we go all beyond our way to make things extra special or maybe to impress our extended family. We have really high expectations from us and others especially during this time of the holiday season.

However, you need to realize that you’re just a human who indeed is doing his best in the given time-frame. The output of your effort is never in your control. hence, it’s better to let it go. Detach yourself from all such unreal expectations. It’s okay to do less and be mindful.

Beating holiday stress couldn’t be as simple as it seems, but we can surely work on ourselves to improve our mental health during holidays.

2. Honor your feelings

If holidays are bringing stress due to some unhealed wounds or recent events, it’s okay to acknowledge your feelings. If you’re feeling sad because of some recent loss or you’re still grieving, it is okay to feel those emotions.

You don’t have to force yourself to be happy and merry during Christmas. Your feelings are valid and venting it out won’t make you weak. Do not pressurize yourself to wear a fake mask or put up a smile even when you don’t feel happy.

When you’re working on managing holiday stress, it becomes necessary to honor the root cause of it and to feel the pain. I use journaling to heal myself from everything that breaks my heart. Here’s my free course on Journaling that you can join.

3. Plan ahead

I always get anxious with last-minute preparation and this is since my school days. I used to hate reading new topics a day before my exams and was always tensed about not getting it done. Maybe because of that, I always prefer to plan ahead everything beforehand. The last-minute rush is super frustrating.

I would highly suggest to get yourself a planner or create a digital one and plan out your holiday season. Trust me, this will take so much of holiday stress off your shoulders. Plan out your finances, gift allocation, meal planning, decluttering, re-decoration well ahead of time.

4. Have a self-care routine

In this holiday hustle and getting everything done with perfection, we fail to honor ourselves. We readily skip our morning routine or our daily workout. Because of this, our feel-good hormones are harassed. Moreover, this is the time when we need the self-care routine the most.

With the change in season, we feel this sudden rush of change in our lives too, which is difficult to cope up with. Autumn anxiety is real and here’s how you can beat the fall depression. Having a fall self-care routine will help you stay sane and here are my best 51 self-care ideas you can use during the fall season.

5. Stick to a budget

You don’t have to become a super-nova or go on a shopping spree to impress your loved ones when you’re running out of your budget. We all know that this year, things are really getting tough, and being financially stable is such a hard nut to crack.

It is okay to spend less or find some other alternative to show your love. Gifts aren’t everything and they totally cannot define your worth.

Try these alternatives:

  • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Start a family gift exchange.

6. Don’t compare yourself

Your friend or relative may have thrown an amazing party on Christmas Eve and now you’re all stressed out on outdoing that. Leave this comparison train and spare yourself from this pain. In order to beat the holiday stress, you need to stop comparing yourself with others.

Also, you need to stop thinking about last year’s bash!! This will only give you anxiety and frustrate you. We are all working on our pace and your journey cannot be compared.

7. Learn to say ‘no’

You may be excited to help everyone around or do the job beyond your capacity. It indeed is always a pleasure to be helpful but no sacrificing your own health. Having healthy boundaries is so much necessary for mental peace and you can imagine how stressful holidays can be if you fail to say ‘no’!!

Your friends and relatives will understand if you cannot be present every single time due to your mental health. It’s also okay to deny overtime work during such a stressful period.

However, in the end, it will depend on you, you need to honor yourself and say ‘no’ to everything that harms your health. This is the reason why people find it difficult to manage stress during holidays.

8. Ask for help

I will tell this over and over, seeking help isn’t weakness. Do not wait for the worst time to arrive to go for therapy. Moreover, you can always ask for help when you’re flooded with work. It won’t make you less worthy or inefficient for some work.

Here’s this amazing online therapy that I use, the therapists are super co-operative and helpful. Further, you can take it at your pace.

How to cope up with holiday stress – conclusion

The stress during holidays could be unbearable at times. From shopping to decluttering to decorating, everything falls on the head all of sudden. However, I’m so sure that these tips will help you beat the holiday stress and will keep you sane during such a tough time.

I highly encourage and recommend to follow a few of them that appeal to you the most. Do let me know about your holiday preparation and how you’re managing holiday stress in the comments below.

I would love it if we can stay connected, sign up for my weekly newsletter where I send weekly mindful tips to make your life peaceful and joyous.

  1. Hailey

    July 20, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    I love the holidays but I would be lying if I said they didn’t stress me out. I feel like I set too many expectations for myself and then I forget to enjoy myself.

  2. Cate

    July 21, 2020 at 3:30 am

    Excellent tips, it’s so important to prepare ourselves and take care of ourselves during hectic times

  3. Pam

    July 21, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    I find this extremely helpful! I am definitely a person that suffers from holiday stress. I often times become irritable, quiet and moody. I hate it but I really want to change it. The holidays are supposed to be lovely, cheerful and fun! This post is very informative! Thank you so so much!

  4. Cassie

    July 22, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Love this!!! Very helpful!

  5. Sam DeCosmo

    July 22, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Reading this made me excited for the holidays! These are great tips that I will definitely come back to when the season gets closer.

  6. Samantha

    July 22, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Wonderful suggestions! You really hit the nail on the head when you mentioned managing expectations. Setting that boundary between what you will and will not accomplish helps so much!

  7. Karen Chen

    July 22, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this lovely post, Sonia! Love the little graphics as always, they’re so simple but add a personal touch to each post x

  8. Anitha

    July 24, 2020 at 2:55 am

    Holiday stress is real and I have experienced it. Nowadays, I like to plan ahead so as to reduce my anxiety levels. Great read

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