Rogers Behavior Health shared that while many people look forward to the holiday season, more than a third of American adults say the holidays stress them out.
Between visiting family and friends, attending holiday parties and school concerts, buying gifts, and volunteering, the commitments of the holiday season leave many of us feeling overwhelmed.
“I think it’s important for people to know that during this festive time of year, it’s okay to share what you’re feeling, whether it’s good or painful,” says Dr. Lindsey Bergman, clinical director of Rogers’ new LA clinic. “So often there are assumptions made that everyone is happy and cheerful. But that’s not always the case, so don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re having a hard time.”
Dr. Bergman shares a few tips to help curb holiday stress:
1. Get enough sleep. When stress interacts with a lack of sleep, it has a profound impact. If you’re not getting enough sleep, try to take 10 to 20 minutes during the day to meditate or relax by listening to music or reading a book. If you haven’t slept well for a night or two, try catching up with an extra hour the next night.
2. Don’t take on too much. This time of year, it’s easy to get swept up into raising your hand one too many times to organize parties or other festive activities. While volunteering your time can make you feel good, be careful to not overdo it, as a heavy workload in the holiday season can cause undue stress.
3. Eat and drink in moderation. Be realistic with yourself. Know that you’re going to have a couple of big meals over the next several weeks, and that’s okay; you shouldn’t feel guilty. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself as long as you don’t overindulge night after night.
4. Get out and spend time with people you enjoy. When people aren’t feeling well, they’ll tend to isolate themselves. But catching up with close friends who you truly enjoy being around can give your mood the boost it needs to feel refreshed. Push yourself to grab coffee with that friend you’ve been meaning to see, your mood with thank you for it.
5. Perform an act of kindness. Giving your time to help someone else can lift your spirits. By volunteering at the local food pantry or homeless shelter, you’re not only doing good for other people but for your mental health as well.
6. Plan gifts earlier than later. A lot of stress can come from deciding what gifts to buy for loved ones. Try to plan ahead to relieve the pressure of scrambling from store to store at the last minute.