27 Dec Four Simple Steps to Coping with Holiday Stress
The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Finances, traveling and trying to find the perfect gifts can all be a source for stress. Feeling overwhelmed? Here are four daily tips to help relieve some of the pressures of our day to day lives.
1. Find the Source of Your Stress
Sometimes finding the reason for your stress is simple. Christmas presents maxing out your credit card or not enough time to make a dish for the holiday party? Other times you’ll have to think before you can find the source. Try to reflect on your daily habits and attitudes. If you can’t find the source of your stress, consider starting a journal. Write down all the times when you are feeling stressed and any of the relevant circumstances surrounding your feelings. Over time, you will likely notice a pattern that can lead to the cause.
2. Avoid, Alter, Accept, Adapt
Now that you’ve identified the sources of stress in your life, there are four ways you can deal with them. Let’s say, for example, that you are stressed out because you have too much work to do before Christmas break, and not enough time to do it. The first step would be to try and avoid the situation. You could refuse to accept any additional responsibilities until you have more free time. Sometimes, this is not possible. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your superiors and/or ask for deadline extensions. If that doesn’t change your situation, your next step would be to accept. Some things are just out of your control. You may find that simply thinking about things in a different way can make you feel better. You might think to yourself, “Well, I’ll only be busy for four more days. Then I’ll have time to myself on the weekend!” Lastly, you can try to adapt. Perhaps the situation isn’t what’s causing stress, but the way you are handling it. Maybe your responsibilities could be taken care of more efficiently if you tried a new approach.
3. Replace Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Some people deal with their stress in an unhealthy way such as smoking, drinking or eating unhealthy foods. The holidays are always a time for over eating. But these types of activities actually increase your stress levels, making them very counterproductive. Instead of unhealthy habits, consider doing something good for you that also helps relieve stress. Exercise is a popular coping mechanism to dealing with stress. Physical activity helps release endorphins that offer an immediate boost to your mood. Human connection can also be helpful. You can call an old friend, go out to eat or join a club. Busy? Try making yourself a cup of natural stress relieving tea.
4. Stay Healthy
Once you’ve found a way to cope with the immediate causes of your stress, you’ll want to take steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being in good physical and mental health can help you remain resilient to stress, and push through events that would typically leave you feeling anxious. Make sure you eat correctly, get a good night’s sleep, and take time for exercise. You’ll likely find yourself feeling better than ever!