12 Tips for Stress Free Holidays

12 Tips for Stress Free Holidays

11/23/10 James Winston

The holidays bring a range of emotions.  Here are some survival tips from Centerstone Solutions.  Solutions is a free and confidential service for IUPUC students.

The holiday season is one of the happiest times of the year. Amid the excitement, traditions, parties and shopping are the added stresses of strong feelings of obligation, expectations of dream-like relationships, and remembrances of loved ones not with us this year . Keep your holidays happy and think about including these tips in your planning

If you decide to drink alcohol during the holidays, don’t drink and drive. If you find you cannot control your drinking, seek immediate help. Advertisements for alcoholic beverages increase during this time of year, but the use of alcohol also increases the number of accidents and fatalities. Again, keep safe during the holidays and don’t drink and drive.

Keep yourself to a budget. Homemade gifts like cookies, home baked bread, or a hand-made wreath still say you thought about someone. A gift such as this can mean more than a more expensive item. Keep in mind the true meaning of the season and spend your time, not just your money.

This season can remind you of loved ones who won’t be here. Grieving for those you miss and love is natural. Talk with family and friends about it. Allow yourself to cry, to laugh, and to show your emotions. If grief keeps you from spending time with those still here, or overwhelms you in other ways, seek professional help. A wave of emotion and grief is natural, but lingering feelings of loss may lead to depression.

Traveling in a cramped car can leave children cranky and parents frustrated. Be reasonable about your traveling. Make relatives come to you or try combining events. Visit in-laws every other year. Give yourself permission to stay home. If you do travel plan frequent stops to stretch, have some water, or take a bathroom break. Be reasonable about the length of time you spend on the road. Plan some games to keep children happy.

Added stress can make even good relationships strained. Spend time with those you enjoy and limit time with those in whose presence you feel emotionally strained. Give yourself permission to say “no” to emotionally packed experiences that have proven negative in the past.

Don’t let being away from relatives leave you lonely. Churches, offices, and community groups all have get-togethers during the season. Ask friends over for a simple gathering. Let others know about your plans, or lack of plans, at this time of year. Many families welcome more guests to their table. Enjoy the hospitality of others and remember that you do not have to be alone.

Feeling “the blues” at this time of year is natural. Sometimes the festivities do not live up to your expectations and this can leave you feeling low. If the holidays leave you joyless and these feelings last for months rather than weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Seek professional help if your “blue” feelings keep you from functioning normally.

Crowds, lines and the stress of finding that “perfect” gift can make this time of season less than joyful. Try to spread your shopping throughout the year. Be reasonable about what you buy for those on your list. Remember that it is the thought that counts most. Shopping locally, giving gift certificates, or shopping by mail can be other ways to avoid the last minute shopping crunch.

Don’t expect yourself to do more than humanly possible. Plot a realistic schedule for yourself to complete. Consider delegating tasks to others in your family. Older children can feel more a part of a holiday by being given the job of finding grandma’s gift this year. Let younger children wrap presents, trim the tree, or come up with menu ideas. Relax and let others share the tasks at hand — and the joy of doing.

Don’t feel obligated to attend all the events to which you are invited. Select those best timed for your schedule and which you find most enjoyable. Also, don’t expect to keep every tradition your great-grandmother started. Create the holiday you’ll remember and enjoy and select those traditions that mean the most to you.

Take time for yourself and forget about the holiday rush for awhile. Perhaps a vacation or a short trip will rejuvenate you. Plan some personal time for holiday pleasures like a concert, ballgame, or lunch with an old friend. Taking time for yourself can be a great stress reliever.

If you feel down, remind yourself of the fun things you did over the holidays and the happiness you shared with others. Don’t get caught up in “should have done.” If you find yourself feeling depressed for weeks or months at a time seek professional help.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or just sort of “blue”, help is available through Centerstone Solutions, your student assistance program (SAP).   These services are sponsored by IUPUC.  They are free, strictly confidential and easy to access.

Contact your Centerstone Solutions.  For an appointment or simply to get more information, just call 1-800-766-0068.  Or look for us on the web at www.solutionseap.org or on FaceBook.

Comments are closed.

Newsletter Sign-up