Thursday, Jun 2023

The holiday season is approaching, which means one thing for many: stress. Even people who love the holidays can get overwhelmed during this busy time of year, and if you’re not careful, it can lead to health problems like insomnia, stomach ulcers and even heart attacks. The key to avoiding these seasonal stresses? Preparation, of course. Make sure that you have a plan in place so that you can enjoy your holiday season without having to worry about everything that comes with it. Here are some of the key areas that most people find stressful surrounding the holidays and tips to consider that will help you break down those feelings of anxiousness.

Gift Giving

The most common stressors leading up to the holidays are related to gift giving. The number of gifts you feel you need to buy, the cost, and making sure everyone's gift is unique can be overwhelming. While giving gifts often brings us as much joy as receiving them, the expectation that a physical purchase is the only way to show our expression of love and appreciation for another is a false one. Not to mention, giving out of obligation or expectation can lead to negative outcomes like financial and relational burdens and stress.

The season of gift giving, however, should be a mentally healthy experience for everyone when executed in a meaningful way. If done thoughtfully, it can even add to the quality of your holiday season instead of making it more draining.

Tip: Begin by making a list of everyone you would like to get a gift for. Set aside some time to evaluate a variety of gift giving options and add some creative research to the process. Think of each person individually and consider more unique offerings, such as hand-written letters, personalized tokens, or experiential outings that you can do together. By exploring a variety of new options for gifting without overextending your budget, you can focus on sharing what truly matters most.


Social Gatherings

Whether hosting or attending, seasonal gatherings with friends or family can be quite intimidating. During this time of year, it can be difficult to feel like yourself. Expectations from friends and family can lead to social anxieties and pressures, which in turn can trigger a whole host of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, mood instability or hopelessness. It is important that you take care of yourself during this time of year and give yourself permission to experience your own emotions.

Tip:  The best way to manage these stresses is to plan ahead and avoid overcommitting. Although it may seem like preparation does not always go according to plan, it will reduce anxiousness and give you clarity to set healthy boundaries. For example, before heading into a party, consider what would make the evening enjoyable for you and set boundaries on how long you'll stay or topics that may be discussed at length with certain individuals. Knowing what is most important to you will allow you to limit any potential negative effects before they happen.


Weight Gain

The holidays are a time of year where many people overeat in a hectic atmosphere, indulging in festive, rich foods and cocktails at every turn. The ongoing social gatherings that take place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s combined with the pressures related to festive eating and drinking almost always lead to weight gain and holiday blues. As a result, feelings of shame or inadequacy can often surface, and we all deserve better than that. For those who have made conscious decisions to be healthier throughout the year, whether it be with diet and exercise or consuming less or no alcohol, this time of year can be exceptionally difficult.

Tip: Embrace the mindful eating and drinking practices you have set for yourself, whether its listening to your body's hunger signals or following an intuitive eating plan. When hosting parties at home, try to offer healthy alternatives such as fruit kebabs or appetizer platters with veggies instead of chips and dip. When it comes to alcohol, save those calories for festivities with friends or family on the weekend and focus on a more structured approach to nutritious meals and portion sizes throughout the usual work week.




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