People are getting ready to cook, spend time with lived ones and shop sales. It sounds like a recipe for gratitude or disaster.
The holiday is a time that makes people very stressed. Some of the biggest causes of holiday stress are noted in a Consumer Reports Survey:
“The holidays are supposed to be a time of comfort and joy, but 90% of Americans report stressing over at least one aspect of the merry season. “For all the chatter about nostalgia, family fun, and gift giving this time of year, many people don’t like too much of a good thing,” said Tod Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports.
Here are the top 11 things that Americans dread about Christmas, according to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center:
68%: Crowds and long lines
37%: Gaining weight
37%: Getting into debt
28%: Gift shopping
24%: Seeing certain relatives
23%: Seasonal music
19%: Disappointing gifts
16%: Having to attend holiday parties or events
15%: Having to be nice
12%: Holiday tipping
So how do we minimize our stress and actually enjoy the holiday season more?
Take a breath and relax. If crowds and lines are an issue, then try shopping online. Also, factor in your time, effort, and stress before deciding if that holiday sale really is a great bargain? If you have to shop, try avoiding peak times of shopping. Shop with someone to offset the stress.
Enjoy holiday food, but moderation in all things matter. If you know your going to be eating a lot or unhealthy things, try exercising more to offset the holiday barrage of calories.
Many people feel an overwhelming pressure to buy gifts they cannot afford. Instead of using charge cards, use your debit cards to control spending cash on hand. Gifts are thoughtful gestures, if you have that family member who puts no thought into gift giving, lower your expectations on what you will get and focus on giving from the heart.
During the holiday season, most of us are our own worst enemy. We don’t take care of ourselves. Its hard not to be stressed if your eating poorly, not sleeping well, and dealing with the craziness that comes with the holiday season.
Get lots of sleep, sunlight, and try to find humor in unpleasant situations.
Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Holiday stress management can often seem like an exercise in survival skills.
WebMD also provides these tips to reduce stress during the holidays:
1. Put Stress in its Place: It’s Not About the Holidays
People who get stressed out easily are most likely to feel intense stress during the holidays. It’s really all about you, and not about the holidays. But there’s good news. You can learn to put stress in its place, and take the pressure off throughout the year.
“Stress and distress are often related to worrying about the future or fretting about the past,” says David Levingston, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Brattleboro, Vt. To find peace and joy in any season, he advises focusing on the present moment.
2. Create the Holiday You Want
“When the holidays come around, there may be pressures pulling you in all directions off your center,” Levingston says. He suggests you make clear decisions about how you want to spend your time and resources. Do it early, before the decorations go up around town. Consider what is most important to you. What memories will you look back on when the season winds down?
3. Have Compassion for Yourself and Others
Even if you shop less and focus on family time, stressed-out friends, in-laws, and co-workers may still come calling. How can you be a good friend and keep your calm?
Try not to take things personally. Levingston says that’s one of the most important skills you can learn to reduce stress. During the holidays in particular, he says, most people are trying to get their needs met. Maybe it’s their need for love or simply for validation. “Even if someone is being a jerk or insensitive, it is their way of trying to get their needs met,” Levingston says.
So try not to think about how people “should be.” Accept them as they are, and release the tension from your body. “I think when we can see where people are coming from, there can be less frustration and more compassion,” Levingston says.
SottoPelle wishes you a happy, healthy, and stress free Thanksgiving!