If the holiday season gets you feeling a bit down, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon to feel an increased level of stress and depression as the holidays approach, especially when finances, difficult family members, bad weather, or unhealthy habits factor in. There are ways to manage, however, and these handy tips might help you lower stress levels while graciously greeting the holidays.
Don’t Overdo it
This simple tip can often seem most difficult, as holidays can bring on a deeper feeling of obligation to please others. The fact of the matter is that it’s important to remain realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. Your Thanksgiving dinner might not be perfect, you might not afford every gift you’d like to give, and you might have to turn down a few party invitations. Taking care of yourself and knowing your limits is paramount when it comes to managing your stress levels, and it’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, no matter how hard you try.
Get Creative and Save Money
Financial stress can wreak havoc on your feelings of well-being, especially during the gift-giving season. Rather than dealing with traffic, crowds, and chaos of holiday shopping, why not spend a few nights at home working on personalized, handcrafted, homemade gifts? A trip to the craft store might prove to be less stressful than elbowing your way through a department store, and craft kits and supplies are bound to be less expensive than the season’s hottest gifts and gadgets.
Preemptively Tackle Those Holiday Pounds
During the holidays, it might seem impossible to avoid extra treats, whether in the form of gift baskets at work, or opulent spreads of food at holiday parties. Typically, Americans gain at least one pound during the holiday season, but you can combat weight gain by getting ahead of the game. Stay healthy before–and during–the holidays by staying active and keeping a regular exercise routine. Not only will keeping active help battle the effects of overindulging, but exercise can also stave off depression.
Make Time for Self Care
Make time for yourself, whether it’s to exercise, read a book, or watch a favorite TV show. Schedule time to unwind alone, and indulge in some much deserved “me time”. You can also practice meditation, anytime, anywhere. If you’re pressed for time, even just a minute of meditation will do. Take that minute to clear your mind, breathe deep, and focus.
Shine a Light on Stress
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, commonly occurs in winter months when natural sunlight is sparse. If the darkness has you feeling sluggish, depressed, or unmotivated, you might want to ask your doctor about investing in a full spectrum light. These lights mimic natural sunlight, and can be used to help combat those seasonal blues. A few minutes a day might be just the pick-me-up you need to face the holidays head-on.