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Taking Control of Holiday Stress

To some people, the holidays are a time when unwanted or unwelcome guests come. And these guests are stress and depression. And it isn’t really surprising. The holiday season requires a lot of work to pull off the perfect Hallmark holiday. It is because of this pressure that people find themselves in front of tons of demands – work, gift shopping, party planning, cooking, cleaning, caring for elderly parents or children on school break, among a million different things to do. This means goodbye to rest and relaxation over the holidays.

Well, the worrying ends here. With a little practical planning, you can minimize the holiday stress and depression. This means more time to enjoy the vacation the coming holidays are offering.

When the holiday stress is at its peak, it becomes difficult to stop and compose yourself. Here are some tips you can try to rid yourself of holiday stress:
1. Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t force yourself o be happy during the holidays even if you’ve just lost a loved one or if you’re feeling sad that you can’t spend the holidays with your loved ones. It’s OK now and then to take time just to cry or express your feelings.
2. Seek support. If you’re feeling down, seek out family members and friends. They can offer support and companionship. You don’t have to go through the holiday stress alone.
3. Be realistic. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Hold on to those you can and want to. But accept that you may have to let go of others.
4. Learn to set aside your differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Set aside any grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
5. Stick to a budget. Before going shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts and other items. Then be sure to stick to your budget.
6. Plan ahead of the holidays. Set aside specific days for holiday shopping, cooking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make one big food-shopping trip. That’ll help prevent a last-minute scramble to buy forgotten ingredients. Expect travel delays, especially if you’re flying.
7. It’s okay to say no. People will understand if you can’t do certain projects or activities. Say yes only to what you really want to do and you’ll avoid feeling resentful, bitter and overwhelmed.
8. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays steer you off of your healthy lifestyle. Some indulgence is okay, but overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
9. Take a breather. Make time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Sneak off to a quiet place, take a walk at night and stargaze, or listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces your stress.
10. Rethink resolutions. Don’t resolve to change your whole life to make up for past excess. Set smaller, more specific goals with a reasonable time frame. Choose only those resolutions that help you feel valuable and that provide more than only fleeting moments of happiness.
11. Forget about perfection. In real life, people don’t usually resolve problems within an hour or two. Something always comes up to mess up your plans. Accept imperfections in yourself and in others.
Take control of holiday stress and depression
The key to minimizing holiday stress and depression is knowing that the holidays will trigger stress and depression. Accept that things won’t always go as planned. Then take steps to manage stress and depression during the holidays. You may actually enjoy the holidays this year more than you thought you could.

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