Tips to Avoid or Manage Holiday Stress 2021

To some it may seem silly.

But, holiday anxiety is a real issue. 

Feeling like there’s a lack of time, 

Having unrealistic expectations.

And over committing yourself

Are just a few reasons that many people suffer from holiday stress.

If you consider the fact that one in six people in England already suffer from anxiety.

It’s not hard to understand that getting organized for Christmas can be a real burden.

Then factor in the uncertainty that’s currently plaguing the world due to the pandemic.

Plus the fact that many people can’t travel to meet their loved ones this year.

Ensuring that you take time to care for yourself.

…and not trying to make everything picture perfect become increasingly important.

This holiday season why not take extra steps to look after yourself. 

That’s more important than anything you can do.

For, if you don’t, you could impact your mental or physical wellbeing. 

Which would be detremental to everyone in your life. 

Prioritise self care, and take the steps mentioned below seriously. 

That way you can make the most of this holiday season.

Real-Life Holiday Stress Statistics

Christmas is billed as the “Big Day,” yet many people would rather skip Christmas all together.

In America, a quarter of people interviewed said that they felt extremely stressed during the Christmas break. A quarter of the population will experience a mental health problem at some point each year.

When it comes to adding Christmas into the mix, a third of people aged 45 to 54 say that Christmas made them feel low.

Women in particular can find December difficult. With 51% of women saying that they feel anxious and stressed at Christmas time. 

One study found that a whopping 88% of Americans feel stressed at Christmas time. With eight in ten adults finding it hard to make time to relax.

With Christmas making schedules jam-packed.

But what is it that is creating all of the pressure? The main culprits are finding gifts, taking on too many commitments, financial strain, stressful family events and decorating.

The pressure starts to mount in November, resulting in a third of those interviewed saying they’d rather stop doing Christmas altogether.

How Holidays Affect Mental Health

Humans are social beings, and as such seek out community and a feeling of belonging. Normally people get together with loved ones or friends at Christmas time.

Some people don’t have this luxury and can feel depressed spending this time of year alone. This is exacerbated by the pandemic rules and travel restrictions.

This year there’s the added burden of people thinking that they may spread the virus to friends and family.

Which can be hard to deal with. 

There’s also extensive media coverage, painting the picture of an ideal Christmas. Which is impossible for most people to live up to.

This can feel disappointing. Some families squabble at Christmas, which can be upsetting if you’re expecting a perfect day.

Setting unrealistic expectations is one of the main reasons people struggle with mental health at Christmas time.

Moreover, the use of excessive alcohol is normalised, which can be dangerous for mental health. 

7 Strategies to Avoid Stress this Holiday Season

If stress or anxiety is overwhelming, it may be a good idea to speak to a professional care provider for some help.

If that isn’t an option for you, then here are seven tips that will help you get through this holiday season: 

  1. Focus on good thoughts
  2. Be grateful for what you have
  3. Don’t try to make Christmas perfect
  4. Prioritise rest 
  5. Focus on things you can change, rather than ruminating
  6. Remember to exercise
  7. Set financial boundaries

Self Help For Clearing Your Mind & Relieving Stress

One reason that many people feel more stressed is due to excessive alcohol consumption.

While alcohol is a sedative, it can create an imbalance in neurotransmitters, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression.

It can also impact your quality of sleep, which can then alter your ability to deal with stress effectively.

Again, many people smoke cigarettes to relieve stress. But research has shown that starting smoking when young can lead to an increased risk for developing an anxiety disorder.

So reducing or quitting alcohol and cigarettes can be a good idea.

Yoga, mindfulness practices and meditation can help relieve stress.

A study published by John Hopkins has found that meditation is a natural antidepressant.

Just 30 minutes a day can make a world of difference.

At Christmas time, many overindulge with alcohol, food and spending.

Making sure to eat a balanced diet filled with organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as taking any supplements you might need can crowd out junk food.

Leaving less room for high-sugar, and heavily processed foods. 

The Bottom Line

It has never been more important to take care of yourself during the holidays than it is this year. There has been so much free-floating anxiety going around, which can be heightened at this time of year. The best move is to curb stress before it happens. Why not take steps to prioritise your own mental health? Like eating a healthy diet, exercising, meditating and going for walks in nature. Everyone would be better off if they took the responsibility for looking after their own health to heart. Rather than putting it off for another day, why not start today?