The hustle and bustle of the high holiday season is here. For many, this is an additional layer of stress to our busy, full lives. In general, reports indicate that over 40% of Americans report an increase in stress (the bad kind) during this time while over half of us feel our stress is the same. Regardless, most of us “feel” the holidays in one way or another.
To stress or not to stress?
Overall, the high holiday season is a time of good cheer. While positive stress or holiday hassles may be associated with this time of the year, the most commonly experienced emotions are happiness, love, connectedness, and good spirit.1 On the other hand, the two most common negative emotions are fatigue and stress. Now that it’s the end of November, the joyful season is upon us.
There are many ways we can combat holiday stress, both good and bad. Below are a few tips:
Holiday Stress-Busting Tips
- Plan. While we may not be able to perfectly arrange our time, planning for the holidays can help. Decide what events or gatherings you would like to attend and what you do not want to do. Be realistic with what you can do and intend to preserve your time and energy for interactions and people who bring you joy, laughter, and create new memories.
- Move. Remember to keep moving in a way that feels good to you. This might involve not showing up at the start of an event to preserve your morning routine or taking time for yourself to stretch or walk after a meal. While there may be changes to your days and this season, stay moving wherever you are.
- Connect. Connect with yourself and connect with others. Check-in with your body and mind to see how you are doing and are responding to events, gatherings, exchanges, relationships, and more. First and foremost, nurture yourself and prioritize your self-care. Then, you bring your best self to your interactions with others.
- Downshift to relax. Plan time to relax or have breaks between events, gatherings and more. The holidays can be busy, but this can also be a time of personal growth or introspection. Finding new and different ways to support your own self-care or balance can shift your experience of the holiday season. You might also find something new that you enjoy that can be part of your usual routines.
- Maintain healthy habits. Commitments, socializing with family and friends, mealtimes and more may not align with your common routines. Plan to strike a balance to enjoy events and food without overlooking your daily, healthy habits. Eat in and avoid takeout by trying to prepare food and meals in your own kitchen. Be sure to keep hydrated with water, as it helps promote digestion of the holiday foods we enjoy. Pack snacks, enjoy a protein shake, or eat a small meal to avoid arriving overly hungry to mealtimes that do not align with your typical schedule. Connect with your body and tune into how you are feeling (Tip 3).
Try not to feel overwhelmed by the high holiday season. While stress and emotions may run high during this time of the year, may you take time to spark your inner joy, find quiet within the hustle, and happiness in the season. Take good care of yourself.
P.S.- To learn more about stress and its impact on the body, review our blog from earlier this year.