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Tips for Stress Management During the Holidays

By CFI Predoctoral Fellow Ryan Schare, M.S.

If holiday stress brings up feelings of anxiety or depression for you, you are not alone. Remembering self care (eating healthy, drinking water, moving your body, and sleeping well) during this time can help prevent some of these challenging feelings. 

Here are some additional tips for stress management during the holiday season:

  • Set Boundaries 

Identify your limits and know that it is alright to say no. You don’t have to take on more than you are able to. It’s important to prioritize and make things easier on yourself, especially in a season where stress is heightened.

  • Acknowledge Your Feelings 

The holidays can bring up a variety of emotions, from joy and excitement, to stress and panic, to feelings of grief and sadness. It’s completely valid to feel more than just joy during the holiday season. It’s okay to cry and talk about your emotions. If you are in therapy during this time, it’s important to stick with your regularly scheduled sessions to maintain consistency and explore any challenging feelings that may come up for you.  

  • Stick to a Budget 

The holiday season isn’t just about giving presents. Plan ahead of time how much you are willing to spend. Try to avoid spending too much and adding a huge financial burden on your plate. Consider homemade gifts and gift grab-bags to consolidate your spending during this forecasted economic recession.

  • Get Some Sunlight 

Sunlight triggers the production of serotonin, a hormone that boosts your mood. Walking outside in the sun can be an effective tool to calm and center yourself during more difficult months. 

  • Reach Out and Stay Connected 

Lean on your friends and family when you’re feeling stressed or lonely. This holiday season may bring up feelings of grief, especially if this is the first time you’re celebrating a holiday without a loved one. Dr. Ludmila De Faria suggests celebrating with friends and family to honor and celebrate your loved ones and telling stories about those you may have lost.

American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Seven ways to cope with Holiday Stress.

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