6 Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress

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The holiday season is meant to be the most wonderful time of year. A time filled with dinners with friends, evenings spent making memories with family, and celebration! However, for many, this time of year also means holiday stress.

Stress is a significant risk factor for numerous health concerns, including immune system issues, insomnia, anxiety, and digestive troubles. Use these five tips this holiday season to enjoy all the festivities without that holiday stress.

Don’t forget your healthy routines.

The holidays can be busy with work parties, family dinners, and outings with friends. It can be tempting to forget your healthy routines because of this busy social calendar. These routines involve exercise, mindfulness practices, self-care, sleep schedules, and healthy eating. When we don't prioritize these things, it becomes more difficult for our bodies to regulate our fight, flight, freeze, (or stress) response. 

Exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness are essential to stress management. Keeping the same commitment to your routines, such as exercise, may be tricky over the holidays. Perhaps you only get a workout in 2-3  times a week instead of more over the holidays, but you go on walks with coworkers to bring some movement back into your days. Keeping up with these vital routines will help you to manage holiday stress better.

Don’t overbook your social calendar.

Humans are driven by connection; this season is about relationships and social gatherings. However, overbooking your social calendar can lead to exhaustion and stress, especially if you tend to identify as more introverted. It can be tempting to try and attend every event and “get the most” out of the holiday season, especially after two years of limitations. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a genuine concern driven by a biological need to be a part of a community but it can lead to burnout and overwhelm. 

You don't need to attend every holiday party just because you received an invite. 

Be mindful of overindulging in food and drink.

It can be difficult not to overindulge in delicious food and holiday beverages. Enjoying some of our favorite dishes is part of the fun! There is nothing wrong with enjoying these treats. However, be mindful of the danger of overindulgence. 

Excessive sugar in holiday cocktails and goodies can lead to higher stress levels and anxiety. Indulging in alcohol can also have a negative impact on your health. Companies should consider limiting alcohol or offering a dry holiday party to avoid the discomfort from overconsumption that can follow. Remember, alcohol may provide temporary euphoria and excitement, but it’s a depressant and can increase anxiety and stress in the long run.  

Communicate clearly.

Communicate your boundaries with loved ones early on. Communicating boundaries can be complicated and stressful if you’re not used to it, but it will reduce stress over time. 

You may need a gift limit to accommodate your financial position or to discuss clear expectations with relatives regarding visits and large dinners. Ask yourself what you’re comfortable with and your limits, and be sure to share these. 

Celebrate diversity.

The holidays are an excellent time to celebrate diversity in the workplace. Some holidays may overshadow others, leaving team members feeling uncomfortable or disregarded unintentionally. If you’re an employee or manager throwing a holiday party, creating an open line of communication for all team members is crucial. 

Ask for help.

You’re not alone in experiencing stress during the holidays. Reaching out to ask for help or talking to someone can help you manage these feelings. Perhaps you need to ask your partner to do some shopping, your parents to host dinner, or your employer for a day off to get caught up on holiday “to-do” items. No matter what you need, asking for help is crucial. 

This season could bring up a few things for you, and this is a great time to seek support and work through them while they are top of mind. If the holidays are triggering, reaching out to a professional can also help. I am offering in-person and virtual medical consultation and empowerment coaching.  

If you’re an employer, offering value during your holiday party instead of an open bar means helping your staff create positive memories and connections. Consider bringing in a facilitator and doing some fun team-building activities and social-emotional games to boost connection within your team. After all, that’s what the holidays are supposed to be about. 

Are you looking for a facilitator or speaker to work with you to provide value? I love working with companies as a keynote speaker. Get in touch today!

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