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Holiday stress

Managing Stress During the Holidays

The holidays can be a joyous time with numerous festivities and the gathering of family and friends. But they can also be stressful. You may feel the pressure of buying gifts, decorating, cooking, and cleaning. Sometimes it may seem that you do not have enough time to get everything done. It’s important to learn how to manage and cope with stressors during the holiday season.

Become organized and plan ahead. Make lists of all of the tasks that need to be done and of items that need to be purchased. Create a realistic schedule in order to complete tasks and shopping. Take some time each day in order to get a few items off of your list completed. This will alleviate stress caused by last minute scrambling to buy forgotten items.  But remember do not over commit. Learn your limitations. This will prevent you from becoming overloaded and overwhelmed.

Money tends to be the number one stressor during the holidays.  Try to make a budget and stick to it. Shop around and compare prices to make the most informed decision. Set an amount to spend for each person on your list. Don’t buy gifts that will take you the rest of the year to pay off. This will limit the amount of stress you feel later. Homemade gifts, gift exchanges, or forgoing gifts are great ways to save money.  Use the money saved to add to your savings account or to open a new one.

If planning a party or gathering, encourage guests to bring drinks or a food dish. This will minimize your food preparation time and reduce your grocery bill.  Try to cook ahead of time. Soups, stews, quiches and tarts are examples of foods that freeze well. Assign duties for each family member to help with party preparations. It’s okay to ask for help, especially when cleaning up.

Remember to take care of yourself. It’s important to find healthy ways to decompress.  Set aside at least 20 minutes daily for yourself. Try reading a book, taking a soothing bubble bath, meditation, or watching a movie. Make sure to engage in healthy eating behaviors, get plenty of sleep, and find time to exercise regularly.  Focus on healthier food choices such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. It’s recommended to engage in 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

If your relatives are unable to be with you during the holidays, try other ways to celebrate with them, such as, video chatting or sharing pictures. If you still feel lonely during the holidays, reach out and seek community or other social events. Try to give back by volunteering and helping people and/or animals in need. Helping others is a good way to lift your spirits and build friendships.

Don’t let the holidays cause you anxiety and stress. Instead, take some steps to prevent stress in order to joy the holiday season. Read more on how to cope with stress.

By: Mia Wilchcombe, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

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