How To Manage Holiday Related Stress

How To Manage Holiday Related Stress 1

During the holidays, many people may find themselves experiencing high levels of stress. Despite being a happy and joyous time of the year, the holidays lead to a boost in responsibilities, activities, and gatherings that can contribute to high levels of stress and anxiety in addition to the responsibilities and activities that are already a part of their normal routine. 

Being mindful of the signs of holiday-related stress can help you know what to look out for, so you can address any stress that arises promptly to prevent prolonged negative impacts. 

Symptoms of Holiday Related Stress

  • Poor Sleep: Alterations in your sleep pattern could be indicative of holiday-related stress. These changes can include difficulties falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or experiencing nightmares. Typically, when stressed, the body stays in a heightened state which makes it a challenge for the body and the mind to settle in order to obtain restful sleep. Thus, if you suddenly find yourself struggling in this area during the holidays you may very well be dealing with heightened stress levels. 
  • Drastic Shifts in Mood: This is one of the strongest indicators of holiday-related stress. High levels of stress caused by an increase in responsibility and activity can cause people to be more emotional, more reactive, more withdrawn, and less happy, excited, and engaged in general. If such shifts occur around the holidays, it could point to undiagnosed stress. 
  • Isolation: When people feel stressed around the holidays, it can also lead them to withdraw from people and events in their lives. The holidays tend to revolve around connection with friends, family, and other loved ones. So, if a person suddenly does not want to be engaged with people, they typically enjoy spending time with, or if they all of a sudden don’t want to participate in activities and events it could mean they are dealing with high stress levels. 
  • Overeating or Undereating: Many people tend to deal with the stressors of the holidays via the foods they eat or don’t eat. The holidays make a wide variety of particularly unhealthy food easily accessible, making it simple to binge on holiday snacks as a means of coping with stress. Yet, other people find that stress makes them avoid eating altogether, generally going several hours or even a day without eating as the stress makes them lack the desire to eat. If either of these is out of character for you or you suddenly find yourself engaging in them during the holidays, it likely indicates that there is stress present in your life. 
  • Mental Health: When stress levels are high during the holidays, it can lead to increased instances of mental health issues. Stress heightens the mind and emotions in a way that can elevate instances of seasonal anxiety and depression. Stress also reduces the amount of time spent on self-care and other means of caring for mental health, which can lead to decline in certain areas of cognition also (i.e., poor memory and inability to focus). 
  • Physical Illness: Prolonged periods of stress that can be experienced during the holidays leave the body in a heightened state of elevation that can create health issues in the short and long-term. Short-term signs of physical illness linked to holiday stress could be heart racing and palpitations, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic exhaustion or fatigue among others. Long-term health problems can include increases in blood pressure, increased risk for heart attack, migraines, and chronic pain conditions among others. 

While there can be other symptoms of holiday related stress, as each person is unique and can present their stress in a different manner, those listed above are some of the most common to look out for. 

Noticing changes in these areas during the holidays should alert you to potential areas of stress in your life to be examined and addressed. Failure to do so could lead to more long-term and more serious impacts on the mind, emotions, and body in general. It can also go on to affect those around you. The sooner holiday stress can be spotted and mitigated, the better off you’ll be and the more you can actually enjoy the holiday season. 

Manage Holiday Stress By Planing Early/Ahead

Welcome to the holiday season, a frenzy of gift-giving holidays, advertising blitzes, holiday gatherings, and activities galore that kicks off shortly after Halloween, build to Thanksgiving and proceeds to gain traction through the close of the year. 

Whereas the holiday season is supposed to bring thoughts and emotions of love and happiness, it also brings a lot of holiday stress for many people. In reality, according to a poll online, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be somewhat or very stressful ranking navigating the holidays on par with asking for a raise! 

What is it that makes us all so agitated?

According to the LHSFNA, “The best way to minimize holiday stress is to be aware of the risks and make plans in advance to ease the impacts. The LHSFNA’s Health Promotion Division has summarized some guidance for four of the most common and serious holiday concerns: finances, alcohol, weight gain and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).” 

Far from diminishing the excitement of the season,” says Sabitoni, “setting reasonable expectations and managing behavior to achieve them will ensure a safe, positive, more relaxed, and more enjoyable experience for you and your loved ones. Plan for yourself and set a good example for those around you. Make this holiday season your most enjoyable eve.”

According to VeryWellMind, “Putting your plans on paper can show you, in black and white, how realistic they are. If you find a time management planner and fill in the hours with your scheduled activities, being realistic and including driving time and downtime, you will be able to see if you’re trying to pack in too much. Start with your highest priorities, so you will be able to eliminate the less important activities.”

Create Your Budget

For several individuals, the holiday season’s gift-giving and party-throwing commitments add to their holiday stress. The key to mitigating this issue is careful planning. The sky is the limit when it comes to expectations, so the starting point must be the actuality of your own time and financial resources. 

If you keep these in mind, you can make a reasonable plan for your involvement in your family’s and friends’ parties and gift exchanges. Don’t go overboard with your spending. Begin making your gift list as quickly as possible. Plan long in advance how much you can justify spending and adhere to it—plan for presents, holiday meals, partying attire, holiday decorations, and mailing fees.

Make A To-Do List

Every holiday season, there appear to be specific practices we would like to maintain, locations you would like to tour, things you want to accomplish, and so on, so you’ve already begun to draft a checklist to stay on top of it all! For example, you divide your inventory into six categories: acts of charity, outdoor adventures, crafts and learning, culinary fun, excursions to take, and unexpected, and write down a few ideas for each. Once you’ve settled on the most valuable ones, you can schedule a time to execute them on the schedule.

Come up with a list of gift ideas early.

The present is a great time to start “creating your list and double-checking it” if you’ve not already! With gift ideas in mind for everyone on your list, you can begin looking for sales and deals to ensure that you stay within your budget.

Make Time For Self-Care

It may appear absurd to “schedule” time for yourself. However, as you create your budget, make a to-do list, and make plans for gifts. You may discover that your free time has vanished! Find time for yourself when planning your holiday festivities. An Epsom salt bath, a rubdown, a long nature walk, and exercising or meditation are all excellent ways to relieve stress and care for your mental and physical health.

Manage Holiday Stress By Managing Your Expectations

A big source of stress during the holidays can be the discrepancy between expectations and reality. Often, the expectations we have are far from the reality we see.

Whether it’s expectations about how the kids will behave, expectations about how dinner will turn out, expectations about the holiday party you plan to attend, or expectations about hosting relatives in your home. 

When your expectations don’t match the reality of the situation it can mean major disappointment and stress that is hard to overcome. The following are some ways to help you manage expectations so that you can avoid disappointment and enjoy the holiday season. 

Be Realistic: Nothing sets you up to fail more than unrealistic expectations. Often, we become stressed during the holidays because we wrongfully believe things will go a certain way based purely on our hopes, but not based on the realities of the situation. If we can come to the conclusion that things won’t be perfect and that mistakes or mishaps will probably occur, we can better deal when they do happen rather than becoming unhinged and overly emotional. 

Prepare Yourself: Preparation is another important part of managing expectations well. If you are aware of potential scenarios and incidents, taking measures beforehand to deal with them can help you avoid stress. For instance, having a backup dish if the one you initially prepare turns out poorly can help you simply transition rather than becoming unable to cope. 

Positive Perspective: As hard as it can be, it is important to have a positive perspective if you are looking to properly manage expectations. This is because you will generally find whatever it is you set your mind upon. Thus, if your perspective and expectations are negative then you will primarily see the negative and have an unpleasant experience. Meanwhile, if you set your mind upon more positive things, you will see things from a more positive light and thus have a more pleasant time. 

Get Help: Too often people believe they are far more capable than they are or that they must go it alone in order to be successful. Neither sentiment is healthy. Getting help from others can help you avoid the disappointment that comes with not being able to do it alone or do it well alone. 

When you get help you are able to accomplish much more, and generally do it in a more efficient and effective way. Thus, seeking help can be a great strategy for managing expectations and stress during the holidays. 

Stop Comparison: Too often we compare ourselves and our experiences to those of others. This can make us feel inadequate, incapable, and ineffective. What we fail to realize is that much of what we see is curated and not based in reality. 

Refraining from spending too much time focusing on what other people are doing and staying in the present moment can help you to avoid the disappointment of whatever is connected to you not looking or being like that of another person. 

Closing Thoughts

The holidays can be stressful enough by themselves. Adding to that stress by setting unrealistic expectations, comparing yourself to others, trying to do too much alone, being unprepared, or having a negative outlook is absolutely unnecessary. 

By avoiding these traps, you can manage your expectations in a healthy way and curate a holiday experience that is personal and meaningful to you and your family. Do not allow unmanaged expectations keep you from the joy of the season. Instead, address these areas and find yourself more content and more engaged during the holidays. 

Manage Holiday Stress By Putting Yourself First

When the holidays come around, they can be a time of great happiness and great stress. There are a host of ways to go about managing these stressors during the holidays, but perhaps one of the most valuable is making sure that you care for yourself by prioritizing yourself during the holiday season. 

While this can seem counterintuitive as the holidays tend to focus upon caring for others, there is no way you can adequately give to and be present for other people in your life if you don’t first ensure your needs are met. The following outlines some ways to put yourself first this holiday season so that you don’t burn yourself out. 

Know Your Worth: One of the most important parts of being able to put yourself first is to know that you are worthy of the care. Often, people neglect themselves and their needs because of an underlying belief that they don’t deserve to be cared for, but this is absolutely not true. You not only need but deserve care too. It is only when you truly believe this that you can pursue and push for the care you need without feelings of guilt.

Set Boundaries: Setting boundaries is an important part of putting yourself first. Boundaries act as barriers that you establish with others so they understand how you desire to be treated and what you intend to allow or not allow. 

Boundaries act as protective measures that ensure you receive the respect you are due from others. Boundaries keep you from experiencing poor treatment. When you’re treated with respect and love it positions you to respond to and care for others from that place. 

Self-Care: Spending time engaging in activities and practices that promote your overall health and wellness is a good way to put yourself first. During the holidays as so much, time is spent doing things for and caring for other people, being intentional about doing something for yourself can help you to ensure that you are not being ignored, but rather also cared for during the holidays. When your needs are adequately met you can better serve those around you. 

Say No: It is okay to tell other people ‘no’ and getting comfortable doing so can help you to put yourself first in a major way. Too often people take on too many responsibilities because they don’t feel that they can or that they should tell others ‘no.’ So, they get looped into things that destroy internal peace and rob them of personal joy. Saying ‘no’ is a healthy means of establishing boundaries that can prevent you from being taken advantage of. 

Pursue Your Passions: The holidays are no time to put what brings you life on the back burner. Despite the busyness, it is important to continue in the pursuit of those things you love during this season. Passions are what give life meaning and bring you pleasure, so continuing to pursue them is an important part of caring for yourself and still putting those things that matter to you at the forefront. 

The holidays are not a time where it is okay to ignore or neglect yourself. While you can and should care for others in your life, investing in yourself is of equal if not more importance. No one is able to pour from an empty cup, so do what you need to in order to ensure your cup is full so you can give to others from the overflow of your life. 

Measures like self-care, pursuit of passions, setting boundaries, saying no, and understanding your worth can all effectively help you achieve this aim so that the holidays don’t cause too much stress or overwhelm. 

Manage Holiday Stress By Tactfully Dealing With Family Drama

Spending time with family during the holidays can be one of the most beautiful parts of the season, but it often serves as a source of major stress. Family can cause drama that can deter from the joy of the holiday season if you are not properly prepared to handle it. There are steps you can take to prepare for and manage holiday stress caused by dealing with family members. The following outlines a few of those measures that can be taken to help you best manage this type of holiday stress. 

Know Your Triggers: It is important to know both who and what within the family contributes to your holiday stress. When you are properly informed about what causes your stress you can adequately prepare to deal with it. 

Take the time to reflect upon individuals, scenarios, and events that create stress for you and then determine why that is a source of stress. Armed with that information you can then devise a plan that will help you to address these triggers so they don’t get the best of you. 

Set Boundaries: Boundaries are a very important part of dealing with family drama. Much of the drama that occurs within families is because people overstep boundaries and end up offending or disrespecting another person. When you set boundaries, it leaves little room for confusion as to what you will tolerate or accept so that others can treat you according to how you desire to be treated. This minimizes opportunities to be disrespected by others. 

Communicate Your Needs: It is important that you clearly and concisely communicate to those in your family what it is you need. This can go hand in hand with setting boundaries because once you establish them, they won’t be effective unless other people know what they are. When others know what you need, they know how to meet you and can give you what you need. 

Remember the Big Picture: Though family drama can be draining, it is important not to lose sight of the big picture. The point of the holidays is to spend time with the people you love and no amount of drama should rob you of that. If you can keep the thought of the pleasure of being with loved ones at the forefront of your mind it can help you to endure and overcome the hardships of dealing with difficult people. 

Breathe Through It: In particularly tense moments, deep breathing can be a major asset. Breathing gives you the opportunity to pause and decompress so that the stress of the event or the individual does not completely overwhelm you. Breathing in moments of tension can help you better respond to the event instead of being reactive and doing or saying something you might regret in the future. 

Avoid It: There are some situations and individuals that are so toxic that the best course of action is to avoid it all together. At times the nature of a situation can create so much mental, emotional, and potentially physical damage that efforts to stay away should be made at all costs. This could mean establishing a physical barrier that keeps you away from a specific person or it could mean skipping a family gathering completely if it is going to be too much of a strain. 

Family drama does not have to ruin holiday celebrations. You can implement measures beforehand to prevent the likelihood of family drama getting out of control. Via these steps and others like it, you can address drama and control it so that you can truly enjoy time with loved ones. 

Manage Holiday Stress By Setting Boundaries With Friends And Family

The holidays can be a beautiful time of the year, but they can also be stressful especially when boundaries are being overstepped by friends and family members. Stress is commonplace during the holidays in general because we just have so much to do, add to that family issues and it can turn into the perfect storm.

However, you can preserve the joy of the season and manage holiday stress by implementing solid boundaries with family and friends. While it may seem challenging or intimidating to do so, it is possible and is worth the investment of energy and time. 

Boundaries refer to the limits that are established with another person and serve as your personal guidelines for how you expect to be treated by others, and what you will or will not tolerate from others. The following are ways you can go about establishing boundaries amongst friends and family members during the holidays.

Understand Your Needs: It is important to understand exactly what you need so that you are able to effectively communicate that to others. This requires reflection and analysis to help you identify behaviors that are causing you discomfort and distress. Once you understand what your preferences and limits are, you are in a better position to establish boundaries and advocate for what you need from those in your life. 

Prioritize Yourself: Before you can adequately establish and advocate for what you need, you have to know that you are worthy of establishing boundaries and having those boundaries respected. 

Often people allow mistreatment and abuse in part because of an underlying belief that they are worthy of that kind of treatment, and not deserving of something better. However, when you know your worth you are better able to stand your ground, communicate your boundaries, and hold firm to them in the face of opposition because you know you are worth that. 

Use I-Statements: When communicating your boundaries, it is important not to make the communication of your boundaries seem like an attack on the other person. ‘You’ statements tend to make other people angry and defensive. 

It should never be about what the other person does or does not do. Instead, the emphasis should remain on you, your feelings, and being accountable for yourself. This can allow other people to let their guard down and embrace what you’re saying so that they can respect your wishes. 

Be Clear: Leave no room for confusion or ambiguity when communicating your boundaries. Boundaries cannot properly be respected if other people aren’t really sure what you need and want. Being clear and concise when you set and communicate boundaries will enhance understanding and elevate the ability of others to give you what you want. 

Manage Holiday Stress By Resting Your Mind

The holidays are a beautiful and joyous time of the year. However, they can often be the cause of stress for many people. In order to prevent stress from getting the best of you during the holiday season, it is important to take measures to help you manage and reduce stress. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking the time to rest your mind. Resting your mind can take place in a variety of forms. The following outlines some of those ways.

Resting Your Mind During the Holidays

Meditation: Meditation is the practice of deep focus on something with the aim being to reshape a line of thought or pattern of behavior. Meditation can be used to achieve relaxation during the holidays by selecting affirmations or positive thoughts/images to focus on as a means of reducing stress and promoting calm. Via meditation you can break away from the hectic nature of the holidays and find the rest you desperately need, even if just for a few moments. 

Deep Breathing: Engaging in the practice of deep breathing is a simple yet effective way to achieve mental rest. Deep breathing allows you to hit the pause button on the chaotic or hectic nature of the present, disconnect, and reset to a more calm place. This period of rest, whether brief (5 minutes) or prolonged (15+ minutes) can be exactly what you need to experience mental down time. 

Get Outdoors: Time spent outdoors can be a great way to shift focus and rest your mind. By being in nature, you release endorphins linked to improved mood and reduced stress. Whether walking, exercising, or just spending time sitting in the sun, time outdoors can be very helpful in helping you separate from the stressors of life and resting your mind. 

Self-Care: Self-care involves any activity that promotes general health and wellness. Being intentional about engaging in self-care practices is a strong way to rest your mind. As you spend time doing things you enjoy and disconnect from those things causing anxiety and stress, you allow your mind to decompress leading to valuable rest. 

Talk to Someone: The benefits of talking to someone you trust are vast. When you find yourself dealing with stress or triggers, having someone in your life that you can discuss this with can be such a relief. Whether a friend or a mental health professional, being able to talk through those things that cause stress allows you to release them so they don’t stay stored in your mind and your body. Then you are free to move forward without the weight of the stress on your shoulders. Also, talking things through with another person can allow them to offer you strategies for coping with your stress which will help you further rest your mind. 

Gratitude: The practice of gratitude can be a powerful one for achieving mental rest and reducing stress. When you engage in the practice of gratitude it releases the hormone oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. As this hormone is released, the body relaxes, stress is reduced, and levels of happiness elevated. 

You do not have to allow the holidays to stress you out. You can do things to help yourself find rest so that the stress does not overtake you. Via tools such as meditation, deep-breathing, gratitude, time outdoors, self-care, and talking with someone can be powerfully useful in helping you find rest so that you can actually enjoy the holiday season. Whether one measure or a combination of a few, these can help you have great holidays with minimal stress. 

Manage Holiday Stress By Asking For Help

There are a lot of things to do during the holidays. From gatherings, to events, to decorating and other responsibilities- the holidays can become so busy and hectic, especially if you try to do everything by yourself. 

In most cases, you don’t have to go it alone. You can ask for help as a means of eliminating stress and preserving your mental, emotional, and physical help. There are some steps you can take to help yourself when asking for help from others. 

Understand You’re Worthy: Too often people struggle with feeling like they don’t deserve the help they so desperately need. The first step to begin asking for help is to know that it is okay to ask for help. Receiving help does not make you weak or lesser than. It simply makes you human. Once you realize that all people need help from time to time, you can be more open to accepting help when you need it. 

Clarify What You Need: A key to asking for help is to understand exactly what it is you need. You cannot begin to advocate for what will help you if you are not clear about the help that you need. This might take some time and reflection so that you can accurately identify these things, and then communicate them clearly. This means outlining what kind of help you need and how those that you’re asking can go about providing it, so there is no confusion when you go to communicate it. 

Ask Clearly and Kindly: The next step in asking for help is to ask in a way that is most likely to get your needs met and wishes respected. The first thing involves being clear. It is hard for people to give you what you need when they don’t actually understand what you need. Being sure to be direct and clear helps you get what you need. Also, being kind is essential to communicating what you need and getting help. When you are kind in asking people are more willing to offer you assistance. 

Ask the Right Person: It is also very important to ensure you are asking the right source for help. If you’re going to someone who does not have the ability to meet your needs then asking them won’t really serve a purpose. When you go to the right source who has the resources and ability to help you, it increases the likelihood of getting the help you need. 

Accept the Help You Need: It doesn’t matter who is available to help you if you are not willing to accept the help. You must get to a place, no matter how hard it might be. There are people who want to help, you just have to set aside fear and pride to be able to receive it. 

Other Thoughts

Asking for help is an essential part of making the holidays run smoothly. When you are able to release fear and pride and ask for help, you can make life during the holidays more enjoyable.

It is also important to note that when you ask for and get help it allows you to remain centered and prevents the exhaustion that is typically seen during holiday planning and execution. 

This means that you actually get to enjoy the holidays much more. Think back to other years when you were so exhausted by the time the festivities started that you could not even enjoy them, wouldn’t it be nice to prevent that from happening this year?

Tips such as assessing your needs, asking clearly and kindly, asking the right source, and actually accepting the help can free you from the burden of doing things alone and free you to accept the pleasure of shared responsibility among community. 

Say No: It is okay to say no as a means of protecting and prioritizing yourself. The more comfortable you get saying no, the less you will take on responsibilities and tolerate behavior that does not serve you. Your ‘no’ does not have to come with explanations or support. Simply say ‘no’ and move on. 

Establish Consequences: There will come a time when people will challenge your boundaries, whether intentionally or unintentionally. When this happens there needs to be some established consequences so people understand that a failure to respect your boundaries comes with a sort of punishment. This will deter and discourage them from future oversteps, and help you establish yourself as a serious individual who should be respected. 

Do what is best for yourself this holiday season and set boundaries with family and friends. The sooner and more clearly you establish and communicate your boundaries, the better you can get your needs met and have an enjoyable season. 

5 Ways To Boost Inner Peace and Reduce Holiday Stress

There’s no denying it, the holidays are a stressful time for everyone. There’s family in town, meals to cook, gifts to buy, the list seems to never end. This holiday season, keep your stress low the entire season long using these 5 ways to boost your inner peace. 

1| Organize Yourself

Most of the stress from the holiday season comes when you aren’t organized or prepared. This causes you additional worry as you wonder how everything is going to come together last minute! Instead of stressing for months on end, organize yourself in advance so you will feel more at ease as the season goes on. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything last minute during the holiday season. For example, you can start buying gifts in October and November. Not only does this help you save time and stress later, but your wallet won’t feel as stressed come December. 

2| Take Some You Time

Although your third cousin twice removed is in town whom you haven’t seen in forever, be sure to take ample time to yourself this holiday season—otherwise you’ll burn yourself out. It can be helpful to schedule this into your busy schedule so that you know exactly when and where you will be taking time for yourself.

It can also be helpful to take this time away from your home—for the simple reason that it is probably filled to the brim with family members already. Don’t be afraid to schedule a solo coffee date or quick lunch with yourself so that you can sit back and let a little of the stress of the holiday season go. 

3| Keep Family Time Laid Back

Besides being sure you schedule time for yourself, you should also be careful not to over-do family time. It may seem fun to take everyone out to dinner, or to a movie, but often times these events can add extra stress to your mental state and wallet and are better skipped. 

Rather, plan a fun at home movie night, or maybe just sitting around the couch and chatting with family members. It may seem too low key for the holidays, but it will be much less stress than dealing with the crowds and stress of getting your entire extended family out of the house. 

4| Let Visitors Help

It can be tempting during the holiday season to tell your guests to sit back and try to do everything yourself. After all, it’s your house and you know where everything is at! But this actually adds undo stress onto you and can quickly make your holiday no fun depending on how many people you have over. 

Don’t overload yourself, instead ask guests to help. Even if you don’t trust them in the kitchen, consider asking them to do small tasks like laundry, tidying up the living room, or helping with the dishes after a large meal is over. 

5| Don’t Forget Your Healthy Habits

When you have extra bodies in your home, and more things on your to-do list than ever before, it can seem easy to toss aside all those healthy habits you just spend months building. But when you do this, not only does it destroy all your hard work, but it also puts you under more stress. 

Do your best to keep your habits intact this holiday season. Do you normally wake up early? Continue that. Work out every day? Find time for it. It may seem difficult, but if you can maintain healthy habits during the hustle and bustle of the holidays you will feel so much better afterward. 

Overall, holiday stress is hard to avoid. But if you use the above 5 tips to boost your inner peace, you’ll find that this holiday season is much easier than previous ones—and you might just enjoy yourself a little this time around! 

How To Deal With Holiday Stress During Covid-19

The holidays, while joyous, can also be a source of stress for many people. Add on the global pandemic that is Covid-19, and things can become even more stressful. While the weight of this virus can seem unbearable, there are ways you can navigate holiday stress alongside Covid-19 that can ensure you still have an enjoyable and memorable time. 

Be As Safe As Possible: A major part of the stress of Covid-19 during the holidays is how to engage in celebration in the safest way possible. While there is no surefire way to 100% protect yourself from the virus, you can take precautionary measures to make yourself feel as comfortable and as safe as possible. 

Whether it’s wearing masks, social distancing, frequent handwashing, or getting vaccinated- whatever series of measures promotes safety and wellness for you can be established as practiced, as well as encouraged amongst those you gather with so that you can feel as safe as possible. 

Set Realistic Expectations: It is important to understand upfront that Covid-19 has impacted the way the holidays are and will continue to have lasting impacts. Embracing this reality and accepting the specific changes that you may encounter in your own celebrations due to Covid-19 can help you to avoid disappointment and move forward with the new reality of life during this pandemic. 

Create New Traditions: A part of having realistic expectations is being comfortable establishing a new way of doing things. While letting go of the way things were can be hard, the best way to move forward and reduce stress is to create new meaningful traditions with the people you love. As you create new traditions, you set the stage for new memories, and you are better able to move forward during such a difficult time. 

Have A Plan/Routine: Routines and plans can be a great way to establish calm and predictability during the holidays. These tools can be especially beneficial with the presence of Covid-19 which has uprooted many of the norms and predictability of life. As you implement a plan and put a routine in place, you can reduce anxiety and better enjoy the holiday season. 

Self-Care: It is of vital importance to prioritize those things that are going to promote your overall wellness and health. Whether taking a walk, journaling, engaging in meditation, or taking a nap- spending some intentional time doing things that bring you peace and joy can help you to overcome stress related to the holidays and Covid-19. 

Focus on the Good: Your perspective is so important when it comes to managing stress. When you choose to focus on the positives such as what you are grateful for or what you have gained, rather than what Covid-19 may have caused you to lose or how it negatively impacted the holiday season, it is easier for you to find joy. The more intentional you are about remaining positive, the better the holiday experience you will be able to have. 

There is no denying that Covid-19 has dramatically changed our way of life, and the holidays are a time of year these changes can easily be felt. In order to deal with the stress of holidays, especially during Covid-19, you must be intentional. 

Measures such as having a positive perspective, caring for yourself, having a plan, being realistic, being safe, and creating new traditions can help you to alleviate stress, decrease anxiety, embrace change, and get the most out of the holiday season.