The holiday season is in full swing, the time of year you’re most likely to engage in stressful activities.
But there are steps can you take to keep stress at bay now through the New Year.
Here’s a sample of the biggest holiday stress sources, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Which ones do you identify with?
- Crowds and long lines
- Overeating/gaining weight
- Going into debt
- Gift shopping
- Interacting with certain family members
- Having to attend parties
Once you identify what activities cause anxiety it’s time to look for ways to reduce the stress. Suggestions include:
- Set a budget and stick to it. Set a spending limit that includes how much you’ll spend on gifts, outings, decorating and cooking.
- Stay organized. Whether through an organizing app on your smartphone or an old-fashioned wall calendar or appointment book. Write down holiday events. Write out a list of tasks you want to get done (and when you’ll do them).
- Be realistic and rational. What’s the worst that can happen if the holiday cookies aren’t homemade? Does the tree have to be decorated exactly when and as it has been in previous years? Creating the “perfect” Christmas is impossible, so stop making it a goal.
- Learn to say no. You do not have to attend every holiday party or participate in every work, school or community event.
- Take breaks from group activities. Even the most extraverted person needs alone time.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise and get plenty of rest to keep your immune system working.
- Recognize signs of depression. The holidays can trigger depression. If you’re experiencing fatigue and insomnia, uncontrollable emotions or a lack of interest in activities you normally enjoy, consult a physician.