As the holidays approach, you may find yourself thinking, “Why the hell am I so stressed out during the holidays? This should be a joyful time. It seems like everyone else is happy.”
You’re not alone! It is common for people to feel stressed out during the holidays. With the anticipation of all that the holidays entail, like family gatherings, travel, gift buying, taking time off from work, and spending money, people often experience a myriad of emotions, including excitement, relief, dread, and plenty of stress.
Try these 4 things to manage your stress this holiday season:
1) Stop judging yourself.
Judging yourself for feeling stressed out, when you think you should feel happy, just exacerbates the stress. So the first thing you can do is to stop judging yourself for feeling the way you do. Your feelings are your feelings—what you choose to do with them is what matters.
2) Nurture yourself.
Do whatever it is that nurtures you. Meet a friend for coffee. Go for a run. Meditate. Eat your favorite meal. Get a massage. Take a nap. Watch a movie. Make time to do whatever it is that helps you unwind and relax.
3) Practice gratitude.
Keep a gratitude journal for 1 week. Maybe try it in honor of Thanksgiving? For 1 week, write down 3 things each day that you are thankful for. Examples are “I feel grateful for the sunshine today,” “I am grateful for being able to play piano,” and “I feel thankful for my best friend who always knows how to cheer me up.”
4) Ask for help.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you are at higher risk for feeling stressed out during the holiday season. Meeting with a therapist can help you learn strategies for managing your stress.
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