Holiday Stress: 6 Ways to Reduce It

Healthline did a survey a few years ago that found 62% of people experience an increase in stress during the holiday season1. And that was before the chaos of 2020! Imagine that number after experiencing job losses, health crises, an election, and canceled . . . everything.

APA’s Stress in America survey sheds light on the mental health of Americans. Seventy-eight percent of Americans are worried about the Coronavirus2. Among adults, one in five reports being in worse mental shape than a year ago3. Does it not make sense?

Our minds and hearts need to be in a good place before we go to Mom and Dad’s house for Christmas dinner this year. You can choose stress every day.

As part of your journey, I would like to share 5 ways you can reduce holiday stress (in advance) so you can spend your time on what really matters.

1. Set boundaries for your schedule and spending.

Your holiday plans include where you go, how long you stay there, who you invite into your home, and how much money you spend. Perhaps your mother-in-law, your father-in-law, or your second cousin will make all the decisions.

That’s incorrect. The choice is yours.

It’s extremely important to set boundaries before you get into the Christmas spirit. The last thing you want is to find yourself discussing politics with an idiotic second cousin or decorating your fifth gingerbread house with resentment for the church bake sale. Make your boundaries clear now! Be sure to protect what matters most to you.

2. Avoid family conflict.

The holidays expose our need for boundaries with our families. You can be driven crazy by even your closest family members.

This year, spend some time thinking about the conflict that may arise with family before you pack your bags. Your Uncle Eddy has a history of speaking poorly of certain groups of people, so don’t be surprised if he begins one of his rants. Even though you can’t change him, you do get to choose how you respond. You can either ask him to stop or you can leave. Set your mind and heart to what you will and won’t tolerate.


3. Focus on what you can control.

There are only two things you can control on this planet: your thoughts and your actions. It’s that simple. It’s not your job to control your parents’ words. It’s not your job to control your children’s attitudes. When you let go of what you can’t control, you will automatically reduce the amount of stress in your life by refusing to take on other people’s problems.

I make a list of my stressors every morning when I’m stressed in my life. Following that, I list the things that are within my control. The rest gets trashed. Be in control of your thoughts and actions, and do what’s right for you and your family.

4. Know your role in the situation.

Taking on roles that we were never meant to fulfill can lead to stress. You don’t have to be the star of the show if you’re going to your girlfriend’s house for Christmas and you have to sleep on the uncomfortable couch and eat weird food. It isn’t your house. Try not to complain. Know that your role is to support your girlfriend. You will not only score brownie points with your girl, but you will also impress her parents.

Before you arrive at your in-laws’ home, choose not to be swayed by their passive-aggression, their opinions on your parenting, or their decision to make extra gluten-containing meals. Choose kindness. Allow stupid criticism to roll off your back. Let kindness heap coals on your head.

5. Say no.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but no matter who you are, it’s absurd to attend a million white elephant parties, ornament exchanges, and cookie decorating parties. Particularly during COVID.

There is no way you can be everywhere at the same time. Tell yourself the truth about what you can handle, and speak up if it’s too much. Don’t go to five Christmas parties this year, instead choose two or three. Prioritize your family’s time and only commit to the things you want to do. It’s all about quality over quantity.

 6. Get plenty of sleep and stay healthy.

Sleep is one of the most powerful tools you have to reduce anxiety. It affects at least 40 million people in the U.S.4. Lack of sleep increases anxiety levels because the brain’s emotional centers are overactive. You should prioritize your sleep over watching Hallmark movies tamilmv for the third time in a row. Not only will it keep your stress and anxiety at bay, but it will also keep your immune system strong. You can also go to the spa house to have better relaxation.


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