This post was made in partnership with Depend® brand. All opinions are my own.
How To Manage Holiday Season Stress
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. With marketing crazes pushing you to spend money, gift lists, recipe hunting, and all of the festivities, it’s no wonder the holiday season can cause stress.
This is supposed to be the season of cheer and joy but the pressure to attend events, give gifts and make plans with family can overwhelm you – and with good reason. Most people have a lot on their plates already, so as much as one may be excited about the holidays, there are also additional chores and expectations.
Don’t fear, though! There are ways to manage your stress this holiday season. Be kind to yourself, take some advice, and hopefully you’ll find your way through with a lot of beautiful memories and a lot less difficulty than you may have seen in the past.
Set Limits – Being proactive will help to deter the stress. Do not say yes to everything and overschedule yourself. The more you concede, the more will be asked of you, so straighten up and find the word “no.”
We all want to help where we can, but one person can only do so much. You can only be at so many events, cook so many dishes, and buy so many presents. Look at your limits and be honest about them. When you are honest with yourself, you can find ways to gently be honest with those around you as well.
Acknowledge Your Feelings – It is okay to feel overwhelmed during the holiday season. That is completely natural and it happens to most people at one time or another. The key to managing it is to acknowledge how you’re feeling.
When you feel stress sneaking in, take a break. Give your mind and body a minute to relax. Tell yourself that this is overwhelming, it is normal to experience these feelings, and that everything is going to be okay. Allow yourself to breathe. It sounds a little goofy, but it will help. Giving yourself permission to take a short “decompression break” is usually enough to help you regroup and keep plugging forward.
Embrace Shortcuts – We all have high goals and expectations placed on us during the holiday season. Actually, we often expect more from ourselves than anyone else is expecting. That being the case, see what you can do to lighten the load.
Consider taking a break from overdoing it this year. Do you really have to mail holiday cards to 100 people? What about putting together a warm email with a photo of your family and sharing it digitally instead? That would save you lots of time and postage. Do you spend all day (or week?) cooking your holiday meals? Maybe you can ask each attendee to bring a different side dish and/or dessert. Embrace the shortcuts that you can find to make your life a little easier.
Make a Calendar – Creating a calendar for the holiday season can be absolutely invaluable. When you know what is expected of you and when, it’s much easier to prioritize what has to be done at any given time.
Use this calendar to list all of your holiday season priorities, responsibilities, and gatherings so that you can see what is coming up. This will both help you feel like you don’t have to do everything at once and keep you from overscheduling. If you’re booked, you’re booked!
Know Your Body – Stress has a huge impact on our bodies. If you can help to keep yourself calm by breathing and scheduling your tasks, your days should be a bit easier leading up to the holidays. But what about the holiday functions themselves?
During holiday celebration days, many of us have to cook, dress up, travel, spend hours at someone else’s house, drive all the way home, and then do it again. Some of us even attend multiple gatherings during the same day. Because of this, it is extremely important to know your body. When you struggle with incontinence, you need to know when and where you will have access to a bathroom. Whether this is at someone’s house or on the road, make sure that you have a plan. Look for public bathrooms that you can count on to be available during holidays and bring extra Depend® FIT-FLEX® Underwear. They are discreet and you won’t have to worry about leaks. If you know that incontinence won’t get in the way of your celebrations, you will have a much better time with family and friends.
Avoid Negativity – We all have those family members that we just don’t gel with. They’re fine in small doses, but for those longer events, it can be a challenge to be in their company. Do your best to avoid the negativity that this brings, if at all possible.
Just because you have to be in the same space as someone you don’t get along with doesn’t mean that you have to socialize with them extensively. Do your best to be polite, but try to position yourself next to others at the table or actively engage with those you are closest to if you need a distraction.
The negative energy that is created in situations like these is enough to ruin your holiday and stress you out for the rest of the season, so be mindful of what you need in order to care for yourself. If limiting the time you spend with this person is the solution for getting through, do what you can to arrive late (just go for dessert), leave early (having young children or other commitments is the best excuse) or create other plans altogether.
Practice Meditation – In addition to the other tips to manage stress, consider trying some meditation. If you have never meditated before, it doesn’t have to be what you’ve seen in the movies. Meditation is just taking a bit of time to do some deep breathing, clearing of your thoughts, and attempting to quiet the brain.
Practicing meditation either between or during difficult situations can make a huge difference in your stress level. When you force yourself to take your mind out of the stress, you give your body, mind and soul a bit of time to release.
The truth is, the holiday season is full of stressors that can leave you feeling completely drained. That will never change on its own, so it is up to you to find ways to help yourself. Remember that your mental health matters. Take care of yourself and have an excellent holiday season.