5 tips to help you manage holiday stress

Holiday seasons are usually expected to be filled with nothing but joy.

They are generally not considered to be seasons of sadness or stress, but the reality is that there are many people who struggle to enjoy it fully either from expected or unexpected circumstances.

December, specifically, can be one of the most stressful months for so many people out there.

There are people who are going through grief, and others battling financial pressures, sicknesses, joblessness and so many other things that prevent them from celebrating.

If unfortunately, you’re battling stress this month, there are strategies that can help you cope:

1. Don’t suppress your feelings

In life, we all need resilience to survive. Life can throw difficult situations your way and if you don’t learn how to be strong, you easily get overwhelmed.

At the same time, you have to know when to be strong and when you should allow yourself to feel. Part of the coping process is allowing yourself to experience difficult emotions first.

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If you force yourself to ignore your feelings, they will come back eventually and maybe even do more damage. So be honest with yourself about your feelings for you to make progress.

2. Take time off for yourself

It might also help to block out the distractions for a while and focus on you. When you’re going through a lot, it’s important to reflect on what is causing this stress or even ways you can avoid such situations in future, if there is any way they can be avoided.

This self-reflection process needs you to be fully present and that is why you need this alone time.

3. Reach out for support

You should also balance your alone time with support. Even if you’re someone who copes better in solitude, you should accept when you need to reach out to someone.

It’s counterproductive to bottle up your feelings when you could just talk to a friend or a professional.

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4. Find activities that help you de-stress

It’s also important to embrace activities that can be your outlet. Doing something challenging or something you enjoy can actually have a positive impact on your mental health during this time.

Some ideas you might like are swimming, daily evening walks or even playing an instrument. Discover the activities that can keep you grounded and start as soon as possible.

This is important because it’s easy to choose other outlets for drinking especially during holidays like December when alcohol is free-flowing.

5. Get comfortable saying “no”

You should also embrace the fact that you don’t have to do anything you’re not okay with. If for example you’re being forced to attend an event when you need to be going for a counselling session, just say no. Or, if you’re unable to host a party due to financial reasons, just say that you’re not in a position to do so this year.

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Don’t put yourself in situations that will cause more stress because you’re afraid to politely decline. Put yourself first and commit to your own decisions.