Eight ways to cope with the holidays


Facing life stresses and adapting to change becomes more important than ever during stressful times like the holiday season. Luckily, emotional wellness is something we can all improve with a little effort. Fortunately, there are eight essential tools to assist you in navigating the holiday season with mastery.

Facing life stresses and adapting to change becomes more important than ever during stressful times like the holiday season. Luckily, emotional wellness is something we can all improve with a little effort. 

We often do things automatically without putting any thought into our actions. But if we’re intentional about our body movements and actions, it can help us connect our physical self with our emotional self. Being mindful and deliberate about what we do makes a difference. 

Holiday stress 

There are a lot of stressors that come along with the holiday season. Even hosting, can cause some anxiety as we try to: 

  • Ensure everything is clean and ready to go.  
  • Create a menu for our guests to enjoy. 
  • Stay within our budget. 
  • Find the perfect gift. 

Health can be a concern for a lot of people. How do we gather in the light of COVID-19, while respecting our own and others’ health? Am I healthy enough to go spend time with my family? 

Coping tip 1: Acknowledge feelings 

Give ourselves a little grace around acknowledging our feelings. Many feelings come up during the holiday season, which can be positive and negative. Many of us habitually stuff our emotions away, so we don’t burden others. However, facing your feelings and opening up to someone about them is OK. Talk to your close friends, family members or even a coworker if you feel comfortable with them. Communicating openly about these things is crucial because the more you try pushing them down, the more challenging it’ll be when they unexpectedly boil back up. 

Coping tip 2: Set realistic expectations 

Keep your expectations grounded as we approach the holiday season. Often, we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and others by setting the bar too high, leading to disappointment. 

This holiday season, give yourself permission to set boundaries with friends and family regarding what you can and cannot do. Others may have expectations that are too high or not aligned with our own, so by communicating early on, we can save everyone a lot of frustration. Be honest about what you think you can handle and realistic in your assessment — this will help make the holidays much more enjoyable for yourself and everyone involved. 

Coping tip 3: Family conversations 

The holidays are a time when family and friends gather. With so many personalities in one space, it’s important to keep an open mind when having conversations. We are in a political season, and it’s wise to keep politics off the table during the holidays. Be mindful that you’re here to enjoy time with your friends and family and that this is a season of joy. 

Coping tip 4: Set a budget 

Another holiday-related concern is budgeting. A budget allows you to know what to expect expense-wise and will help prevent overspending on unnecessary items — or worse, going into debt. When you have a strict budget set for yourself, it becomes easier to make smart choices about your gifts and avoid post-holiday stressors such as credit card debt or utility bills. 

Coping tip 5: Have a plan 

Spend some time thinking about your game plan for Christmas shopping or whose house you will visit. This forethought can save you a lot of stress in the long run. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and say yes to every request, but sometimes it’s necessary to put your foot down and politely decline. Overcommitting yourself will only add more unwelcome stress during an already hectic time. 

Coping tip 6: Respect your routine 

If you’re the type of person who enjoys routine, don’t let the holidays disrupt that flow. Try to stick with your routine as much as possible so you can relax and enjoy this occasionally hectic time of year. 

Coping tip 7: Slow down, take a mindful minute 

By slowing down, taking a mindful minute, and pausing to take some deep breaths, you can help to minimize the stressors in your life. 

Coping tip 8: Seek professional help  

Don’t forget to ask for professional help if you need it. Many people brush off holiday stress and think it will go away after the holiday season is over, but what if it doesn’t? If you find yourself in this boat, don’t be afraid to seek a therapist or professional help. Even if your stress is only situational, talking to someone and learning coping mechanisms can be helpful. 

Happy holidays 

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. However, there are ways to cope and manage the stress of the season. By being honest with yourself, setting realistic expectations planning ahead and seeking help when you need it, you can make the holidays more manageable and less stressful. . Happy holidays. 

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Asante Walk for Hope

Celebrate with cancer survivors at this year’s Walk for Hope, scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Heimann Cancer Center in Medford. Register to walk or volunteer by Sept. 20 to receive a free T-shirt.