Top 5 ways to reduce holiday stress
Christmas comes but once a year. And that’s plenty for most people, especially those of us who deal with holiday stress.
According to the Canadian Psychological Association, our usual coping strategies fall short during this time of year. Special dinners, family visits and sparkling celebrations are events out of the ordinary. And we expect something extraordinary from them.
For many of us, seasonal checklists include the feelings we wish to create. We want people to feel festive when they enter our homes. Our parents should feel cherished when they open our gifts. And our kids deserve their fair sense of wonder.
Such intangibles are impossible to achieve through sheer human effort. Most of them involve other people, whose responses we can’t control. This can only add to our stress as we prepare for every possible outcome.
The Canadian Psychological Association recommends that we get out ahead of holiday stress. They suggest we review our expectations, pace ourselves and try to focus on what really matters. Here are five things to consider:
1. Focus on outcomes you can control, like how you feel about an event or situation. Concentrate on your own fun and the love you want to share. Other people’s responses are beyond your control.
2. Don’t lose all sense of reason. Sure, Christmas comes once a year. But that doesn’t mean you need to bake everything in Grandma’s recipe book or purchase your kids’ entire Santa list.
3. Review your calendar of events. Are there enough quiet evenings for frozen pizza at home? Scheduling downtime means you’ll feel more human, and your family will thank you.
4. Look for meaning. Many of us prefer charitable gifts, which you can order online in your pyjamas. The World Vision Gift Catalogue offers ways to warm hearts while changing the world.
5. Seek help if needed. If, despite your best efforts, you still feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed, reach out to your doctor for help. Christmas is a time when emotion comes to the forefront, and that can be difficult.