The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.
But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
- Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions: have a healthy snack before holiday parties, get plenty of sleep, and incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Options include: taking a walk, listening to music, reading a book or practicing yoga.
Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them early. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.
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