During holidays, we are supposed to feel happier than usual. As for me, that wasn’t the case. Rather than brimming with holiday joy, I felt engulfed with holiday stress.
I was expected to attend complaint-fest office parties, boring social gatherings, and dysfunctional family get-togethers. Trying to be all things to all people was exhausting.
Naturally, I cringed just thinking about the holidays.
I’d hide my crankiness and be the life of the party, all the while pretending it wasn’t getting to me. Before I knew it, I was drinking too much, overeating and not sleeping
Worse, I was drowning in holiday debt.
I had holiday stress but didn’t know it.
Signs Of Holiday Stress
To deal with holiday stress, you must first be aware that you are stressed out. Signs that you have holiday stress can be glaring, or it can be subtle. However, you can spot it if you know the signs.
According to Acacia Parks, Ph.D., people with holiday stress may experience multiple symptoms, but it usually presents in one of two ways:
Irritability: Holiday pressure combined with flash sales, long lines, and pushy crowds, tend to bring out the worse in people. You know are irritable when the littlest of things set you off. For example, the driver up ahead is slightly below the speed limit, which makes you so annoyed you bash his bumper.
Withdrawal: The mind-boggling intensity of holiday expectations can make you want to give up. A typical response is to withdraw and avoid social interaction. If you see other people spending time with friends and family, you may find yourself asking, “Why is everyone having fun but me?”
Ways To Beat Holiday Stress
Make A List
A good strategy for dealing with a sense of being overwhelmed by all the things that need your attention is to make a list. Write down those things that matter most and list them in order of importance. For example, helping mom prepare holiday dinner maybe on the top of the list.
Learn To Say ‘No’
Simple, but effective.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we don’t want to disappoint others. You may feel like you have to be at every event and deal with everyone’s issues. If you feel ill or exhausted, a ‘no’ is the appropriate response. Say it guilt-free. You cannot be all things to all people and don’t have to be.
Do Not Buy For The Sake Of Buying
Sure, shopping can be a quick fix. You may be tempted to buy things you do not need. Remember, just because it’s on discount does not mean it is a good deal.
If you must shop, be proactive and check ahead of time to know when sales begin.
Breath deeply and don’t get caught up in a frenzy of sale season. Do not put your health at risk for a few bargains.
Because of holiday stress, you may be tempted to calm your nerves with stimulants such as nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and sugar products. At first, you will feel better, but soon after, you may experience irritability, aggression even paranoia.
If you have holiday stress, it is best to limit your intake of feel-good stimulants; too many will only make it worse.
Adopt The Right Mindset
The holiday season can be very stressful. You will face many challenges with relatives, friends, and coworkers. You may also have feelings of insecurity, irritability, and loneliness.
Be aware of how you are feeling but don’t over analyze. It is quite common to feel a bit anxious during the holidays, don’t beat yourself up.
When the holiday stress creeps up on you, work harder at being upbeat. One of the best ways is to focus on the positive as much as possible. Here are a few tips:
- Keep a journal
- Write about a positive future
- Look for the silver lining
- Practice Gratitude
I realize these suggestions seem very basic, but they have power because they train your brain to have a positive focus.
Do it daily; soon you will turn poison into medicine.
Lastly, find someone you have confidence in and talk it out so you can enjoy the holidays again.