Desert Ridge Monument Sign

Mental Health: Reducing Stress During the Holiday Season

Reducing Stress During the Holiday Season

The Holidays can be a stressful time of year for anyone. Give yourself the gift of less stress during the holidays by remembering these tips.

The holiday season is often regarded as a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. However, for many individuals, it can also be a period of increased stress. The pressures of gift-giving, hosting, or attending gatherings and other social obligations can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Fortunately, with some practical strategies and self-care, it’s possible to minimize stress and truly enjoy this time of year. Here are a few tips to keep the season jolly:

Plan and Prioritize
One of the primary sources of holiday stress is the overwhelming feeling of a never-ending to-do list. To counter this, start by creating a clear plan of action.
Make a To-Do List: Write down all the tasks and commitments you have during the holidays, from shopping and decorating, to gatherings and travel plans.
Prioritize Tasks: Identify the most important tasks and focus on them first.

Set Realistic Expectations
Sometimes, we stress ourselves out by setting unrealistic expectations for the holiday season.
Manage Your Expectations:
Understand that not everything will go exactly as planned, and that’s okay. Imperfections are part of what makes the holidays memorable.

Set a Budget
Financial stress can be a significant contributor to holiday anxiety. This is especially true after the new year starts and the credit card bills hit your mailbox.
Create a Budget: Determine how much you can comfortably spend during the holidays, including gifts, decorations, food, and entertainment.
Stick to Your Budget: Avoid impulsive purchases and be mindful of your spending throughout the season. Ask yourself, “Is this purchase really necessary?”

Simplify Gift-Giving
The pressure to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list can be a daunting task.
Consider Alternatives: Instead of individual gifts, consider group gifts, charitable donations, or experiences that can be shared, i.e. tickets to Zoolights or Christmas at the Princess.
Set Gift Limits with Others: Establish spending limits with friends and family to alleviate financial stress.

Manage Your Time
Time management is crucial during the holidays to avoid last-minute rushes and increased stress.
Start Early: Begin your holiday preparations well in advance to avoid the last-minute frenzy. Most people tend to overspend on last-minute gifts which leads to stress later.
Set Time Aside to Relax: Make the most of your time by setting aside specific blocks for holiday tasks and relaxation.

Practice Self-Care
Stress is one of the most destructive forces in our lives. Don’t get too busy to take care of yourself during the holiday season.
Maintain Healthy Habits: Consciously eat nutritious meals, incorporate movement, breathe deeply, hydrate, and get adequate sleep.
Practice Mindfulness: Engage in relaxation techniques such as prayer, meditation, or slow and deep stretching to alleviate stress.

Set Boundaries
It’s important to establish boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being.
Learn to Say No: Politely decline invitations or commitments that you cannot handle without feeling anxiety.
Communicate Clearly: Express your limits and boundaries to friends and family ahead of time so that they understand your needs.

Embrace Traditions
Traditions can be a source of comfort and connection during the holidays.
Practice Your Holiday Traditions: Take the time to do the things that are meaningful to you and your loved ones. Whether it’s decorating the tree, lighting candles, attending worship services, baking cookies, or watching a favorite holiday movie, these rituals can help bring joy and create a sense of continuity.
Create New Traditions: Consider starting new traditions that align with your values and reduce stress.

Seek Support if You’re Feeling Depressed
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, lonely, depressed, or all three, don’t hesitate to reach out for help or support.
Talk to Someone: Share your feelings and concerns with a trusted friend or family member.
Consider Professional Help: If holiday stress becomes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a mental health professional.
If you or someone you know have thoughts of suicide, please call or Text HELP to 988. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, CONFIDENTIAL support to people.

Find the Joy
Take steps to find joy around you to relieve stress during the holidays.
Practice Gratitude: Take time out of each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. This simple act of counting your blessings can bring a sense of joy and appreciation.
Relish in the Small Moments: Slow down and appreciate the little things. Whether it’s a delicious cup of hot cocoa, a beautiful desert sunset, or listening to holiday music, these small moments can be a source of joy.
Connect with Loved Ones: The holidays are a perfect time to strengthen connections with family and friends and even forgive transgressions. Spend quality time together, engage in meaningful conversations, and create lasting memories.

Remember that joy during the holidays is a personal and subjective experience. What brings joy to one person may differ from another, so focus on what resonates with you and your loved ones. Ultimately, the holidays are about cherishing the moments that bring happiness, love, and warmth into your life.

Steve Burns
Community Awareness Chair
Desert Ridge Community Association


Ask CAO Jeffrey Blair

Officer Jeffrey Blair

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This