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Six Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Here come the holidays! While things may be different this season, let’s make a plan to make the holidays as fun and stress-free as possible. Here are some tips to help make your season merry and bright.

1. Make a Plan

Decide what traditions offer you and your family the most joy and focus on those that are possible this year. For example, if you usually try to tackle baking, shopping, writing, and mailing cards, visiting relatives, and other activities that leave you feeling overwhelmed, try setting some priorities. Pick a few favorites to focus on and skip the rest, or add to your list as your time and energy level allow.

2. Recruit Help

If you can’t imagine skipping some of the traditional holiday activities, get help from others. Bake with your close friends or family in your COVID safe circle and share the bounty with each other. Get your kids, spouse, or others to help address your cards, or create labels and have kids put them on the envelopes. It may not be the “traditional way,” but it’s the thought that counts. Get creative to find other ways to simplify or solicit help. It can bring the family together and create some fun in the process.

3. Map Out a Schedule

Create a schedule with the prioritized activities and estimate the time it will take to complete. Be realistic. You can see if you’re packing in too much in too little time. Be sure to schedule in time to take a walk, a warm bath, or some other type of relaxation. Exercise and daylight can help reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.

4. Beware of Holiday Eating

The season is ripe with temptation to break from our regular eating routines and lead us to overeating, emotional eating, and unhealthy eating and drinking. Plan ahead and be aware of your triggers. Have healthy food on hand, watch what and how much you eat. Enjoy the holidays, but be watchful, so it doesn’t zap your energy or bring you down.

5. Reassess Your Expectations

If too much togetherness with family heightens your stress, be aware of your limitations. Think back on previous years and try to determine how much togetherness you can take before feeling negative stress. Can you limit your time with family and still feel special and joyous? This year, the demands may be more about whether to attend gatherings or decline due to the pandemic. Use your best judgment and keep you and your family safe. Don’t be pressured into doing anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. You can still be kind, thoughtful, and enjoy the holidays, even if you can’t comfortably meet every social obligation presented. People should understand, especially this year. Schedule more facetime events if needed.

6. Relax and Restore

Sometimes we forget to do the things that help us restore our minds and bodies. Even if you can take ten minutes by yourself to do a breathing meditation, you can lower your stress in a matter of minutes. If you visualize that you are breathing in serenity and breathing out stress, you will find the positive effects of this simple yet very effective exercise. If you are good at napping, do so without guilt. A short 15 to 20-minute nap can re-energize you to tackle more holiday activities. Do what works for you; it will help in the long run.

Finding time for yourself is especially important during the busy days ahead. Be sure to carve out “me” time in the coming days. Core Recovery wishes you a happy, healthy and stress-free, holiday season.

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