The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

Holiday Stress: Information Everyone Should Know

Holiday Stress- A time of year where the hustle and bustle of often changing weather, increasing amounts of holidays scheduled close together, that can cause feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, and being overwhelmed.

This of course is not a textbook definition by any means. However, it is a statement I fully believe defines what most probably think of as "holiday stress." Whatever way you slice it, no matter what religion or faith, this time of year can produce stress in many different ways. This can include family, friend, church, synagogue, and work obligations. It can also impact everything from shopping to parking to traffic. And if you live in a place where cold weather and snow come to those in November, December and January, that you know that this can cause even more affects on daily life.

The first step in dealing with holiday stress is to acknowledge it! Yes. Being able to recognize that the next month of your life is filled with shopping for presents, decorating, work parties, family get-togethers, friends' parties, donating, traveling, driving, and weather is truly half the battle. The second step is getting yourself organized. It IS possible to manage this time of year with grace. It takes practice and a good sense of realistic planning. Do NOT overbook yourself. That will cause you more stress in the end and may even cause you to cancel last minute to things when at the end of your rope. You also should enjoy this time of year. Remember that the focus is on your spiritual beliefs, your family, and friends. Often times, this time of year becomes synonymous with gift giving and receiving.

Having trouble prioritizing? Get out your daily or monthly planner. Take down the must-do obligations. Carve out "you" time in between there. Then see what time is left. Remember, sometimes it's not possible to please everyone or get to everything you're invited to. Do your best. Delegate responsibilities like certain gift shopping to other family members. Consider e-cards if needing to save money. Simple gifts given from the heart are most appreciated. And take time to breathe. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to, and prepare your car for winter weather.

If you're really struggling, many people seek counseling this time of year from pastors, priests, counselors, and therapists. It is ok to ask for support and guidance. And reach out to family and friends. That is what this time of year is really all about.

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