5 Ways to Deal with the Stress of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and spending quality moments with loved ones. However, it can also bring about a significant amount of stress for many people.

Mary Belford, MD
Mary Belford, MD

“Between the hustle and bustle of shopping, organizing gatherings, and managing various responsibilities, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed,” said Mary Belford, MD, with Riverside Psychiatric Specialists. “Finding ways to effectively cope with stress of the holiday season can help you fully enjoy this special time of year.”

Here five ways that can help you deal with the stress that comes with the holiday season:

Prioritize Self-Care

During the holidays, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care to maintain your physical and mental well-being. This includes getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and engaging in regular exercise. Taking care of your body provides a solid foundation for dealing with stress. Consider incorporating activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine to help calm your mind and reduce anxiety.

Set Realistic Expectations

One of the major sources of holiday stress is the pressure to create a perfect experience for everyone involved. It’s important to remember that perfection is subjective, and striving for it can lead to unnecessary stress. Instead, set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Understand that not everything will go exactly as planned, and that’s perfectly okay. Embrace imperfections and focus on the meaningful moments you share with loved ones.

Delegate and Seek Help

You don’t have to do everything on your own. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks or ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s planning a holiday meal, decorating the house, or buying gifts, involving others can help distribute the workload and make everyone feel more engaged in the festivities. Remember, the holiday season is a time for togetherness, and working as a team can strengthen bonds and create lasting memories.

Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude

In the midst of holiday chaos, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude can help you stay present and appreciate the small moments of joy. Take time to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, whether it’s the warmth of a cozy fireplace, the laughter of children, or the companionship of friends and family. By shifting your focus towards gratitude, you can cultivate a positive mindset and reduce stress.

Create Boundaries and Say No

While it’s wonderful to spread holiday cheer, it’s equally important to set boundaries and know when to say no. Overcommitting yourself to social events or taking on too many responsibilities can lead to burnout. Learn to prioritize your own well-being and allocate time for rest and relaxation. Politely declining invitations or suggesting alternative plans that better suit your schedule can help maintain a healthy balance.

“The holiday season should be a time of joy, reflection, and connection with loved ones,” said Dr. Belford. “By implementing these five strategies, you can effectively manage and reduce the stress that often accompanies this time of year.”

Remember to prioritize self-care, set realistic expectations, seek help when needed, practice mindfulness and gratitude, and establish boundaries. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to fully enjoy the magic of the holiday season.

Care right when you need it:
If you or a loved one is in need of immediate mental health assistance, please contact the Riverside Central Intake Department at (844) 442-2551 or visit the Emergency Department at Riverside Medical Center.