During the holiday seasons, incidents of stress and depression typically spike. The mixture of financial strain, extra work, and dealing with increased expectations and commitments can lead to increased stress. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy ways to deal with that holiday stress. Using the following methods can help you stay calm and keep stress under control in order to maintain your mental health during the holidays.
Make a Budget
Financial strain is one of the leading causes of stress in today’s world. The holidays can increase this strain due to presents, parties, and travel expenses.
Making a budget at the start of the season for holiday shopping and expenses is one of the most effective ways to mitigate this stress. Making a budget helps prevent accidental overspending and ensures reasonable expectations. Try to remember that quality time and happy memories are generally worth more than expensive gifts or parties, and focus on those things instead of simply spending money.
Limit Your Drinking
Many people increase their alcohol consumption during the holidays, usually because they are going to more celebrations where cocktails, wine and beer are available. That can make things worse because drinking can increase feelings of depression.
That isn’t to say that you need to avoid all drinking during the holidays. Just be sure to partake in moderation if you do it at all, and track your consumption to make sure that you do not have too much.
Maintain Healthy Habits
Healthy habits typically take a backseat to other activities during the holidays. It’s easy to stop eating right, get out of the habit of exercising or even stop getting enough sleep during the holiday rush.
The solution is to make an extra effort to stay healthy. Watch your diet throughout the season, and try to keep your holiday dishes as healthy as you can. If you’re going to a party, have a healthy snack before you head out to help resist the urge to eat too much later on. If you exercise regularly, try to stick to it and resist the urge to skip the occasional session. Our brains love routine so most people can stay healthy by resisting the initial temptation in the first place.
Know Your Limits
We deal with a lot of different things the compete for our attention during the holidays. From arranging parties, organizing gifts and family gatherings, we all run the risk of having too much on our plates and burning out if we agree to do too many things.
It can be hard to recognize when you have hit your limit and simply cannot take on more responsibilities, but that is also vital to staying sane. Take the time to think before you agree to any new projects, and be honest with yourself when you are making the decision. If you find that you have trouble turning down requests, try to remind yourself stress will make your work suffer, so you won’t do any good by overworking yourself.
A strong support network can lighten the load and help you deal with your stress. That support can come from a lot of places. Many people turn to their friends and families, while others find it in community organizations. Professional help can also be useful, especially when the stress begins to turn into a serious mental health issue.
You can also fight stress by getting help with some of your obligations. Spreading the workload out will make it easier for everyone. Combining that stress reduction with the other methods for coping with stress can do a lot for your mood during the holidays.