It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a stressful and depressing time for many people. For some, the pressure of buying the perfect gifts, hosting holiday parties, or attending family gatherings can be too much to handle on top of the daily stressors of work and life. For others, the holidays can remind loved ones who are no longer with us or happier times that seem out of reach.
Remember—if your stress and anxiety are proving too much to handle on your own, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist can provide tools and strategies to deal with your symptoms and help you get through this tough time.
Ways You Can Start to Cope
Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone if you’re feeling stressed or depressed during the holidays. Here are some tips to help you get through this tough time of year:
1. Set realistic expectations.
The holidays don’t have to be perfect. Refrain from putting pressure on yourself to make everything perfect. Set realistic goals and expectations, and be prepared to compromise.
2. Plan ahead, and don’t overcommit yourself.
Trying to do too much will only add to your stress. Make a list of what you need and want to do, and be realistic about what you can accomplish. Prioritize the things most important to you and let go of anything that isn’t.
3. Don’t overdo it.
It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and try to do too much. But spreading yourself too thin can make your stress and anxiety worse. So be picky about the events you attend and the tasks you take on. Say no if you need to, and delegate when possible.
4. Make time for yourself.
With all the holiday hustle and bustle, making time for yourself is essential. Whether taking a long bath, walking, or just taking a few minutes to relax, carving out some time for yourself can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
5. Connect with loved ones.
The holidays can be a lonely time if you’re away from your family or don’t have many close friends. Connect with the people you love, even if it’s just via text, email, or social media. If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a local church or community center, where you can find holiday events and activities.
6. Stick to a budget.
The holidays can be expensive, and the added expenses can be overwhelming if you’re already struggling financially. Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Focus on what you can afford and what will bring happiness.
Other Tips for Coping with Stress Throughout the Year
- Exercise: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve mood. Even if you only have time for a short walk around the block, getting some fresh air and moving your body will help you feel better.
- Eat healthily: It’s easy to overindulge during the holidays and beyond, but try to focus on eating healthy, nourishing foods. When stressed, your body needs the right fuel to function correctly. Eating sugary or fatty foods will only make you feel worse in the long run.
- Limit your alcohol intake: Alcohol can be a depressant and often only worsens your stress and anxiety in the long term. If you’re going to drink, do so in moderation.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is crucial for managing stress and depression. Make sure you’re getting enough rest by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day to establish a regular sleeping schedule, and avoid caffeine and electronics in the evening.
- Talk to someone: If you’re struggling to cope with stress and depression, reach out to a friend, family member, therapist, or counselor. Talking to someone who understands and supports you can make a big difference.
Contact Life Adjustment Team today for help and counsel regarding our therapy programs and treatment plans.