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How to Understand and Tackle Holiday Stress

12.07.2020 — The Frenshe Editors

Well, Frenshes, it’s officially the holiday season and you know what that means. It’s the season of joy, giving, and unfortunately also the season of unwanted stress for a lot of people. Now, we don’t want to be Debbie Downers here, but we can’t ignore this one tidbit considering how the year is going. The holidays may not be the happiest part of the year for plenty of people, and we want to help cope with any stress or anxiety that may arise from the pressures of having and doing it all this year. The increased spending, cooking, pleasing, and giving are all extremely overwhelming, but the addition of a global pandemic is unmatched this year. Many are suffering from loss, and many others have opted to stay home instead of traveling to be with family and be as safe as possible. We know that the added stress is difficult on top of everything else you’re feeling this year, so we’ve included some tips on how to understand tackle holiday stress.

Be Honest with Yourself

It’s crucial to acknowledge how you’re really feeling about everything this year. Are you feeling uncomfortable about the holidays? Does it feel like a difficult time for you? Whatever you’re feeling is valid and shouldn’t be ignored. On the other hand, if you’re still happy and excited to celebrate the holidays this year, that’s important to acknowledge too. Sitting with yourself, honoring your feelings, and deciding how you want to go about the next couple of weeks can relieve a lot of the pent up stress you might be feeling. If you have a hard time having these honest conversations with yourself, try writing your thoughts down in a journal first and then learn how it’s best to address your feelings.

Don’t Apologize for Setting Boundaries

Feelings of loneliness and social isolation are sadly already common during the holidays, and neither of these should be taken lightly. According to a study conducted by NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, social isolation has been undermined as a health concern for years. This year, a lot of what we’ve experienced goes hand in hand with social isolation, but the pandemic has called for setting extra boundaries. While family and friends could be feeling extra lonely, you shouldn’t feel pressured to travel or engage in gatherings if you feel that you could put your health and others’ at risk. It’s normal to love someone but disagree with their narrative when it comes to the state of the world. Check-in on your loved ones, host a virtual gathering, and if you decide to meet in person, keep your distance, and wear a mask. Bottom line: you should not be made to feel guilty if you’re choosing safety over holiday traditions this year.

Create a Spending Plan

Nearly two-thirds of adults have said that they feel the pressure to overspend each holiday season. This stress is undoubtedly higher this year for many families. By June of this year, as many as 7.7 million people lost jobs with employer-sponsored benefits, and nearly 49 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. These numbers are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and the financial strain isn’t something to be ignored. The pressure might be on to buy presents for family and loved ones, but this year everyone needs to be more understanding. Overspending and building debt should not be the only option that people turn to. Putting a holiday spending plan into place is one place to start, whether this is for gifts or putting together a holiday meal for your family. As mentioned above, it’s important, to be honest with yourself, but you also need to be honest with your family this year when it comes to your individual financial situation.

“Nearly two-thirds of adults have said that they feel the pressure to overspend each holiday season.”

Honor Self-Care

Sometimes you literally have to put yourself first. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by the holidays or this year in general, you need to take care of yourself and your mental health. A lot of people tend to put self-care on the backburner and view it as a luxury—it should not have to feel this year. There are plenty of ways to practice self-care that won’t burn a hole in your wallet or sacrifice the time you need to spend on other things. Whether it’s taking 10 minutes to yourself in the morning and putting your phone down, not watching the news, you name it—give yourself the time. Because of America’s hustle-and-bustle culture, many mindfulness companies have turned to create five-minute meditations for when times feel like they’re getting too hectic. Most importantly, remember that holiday-related stress will pass!

Practice Gratitude

This year has been heavy, there’s no doubt about that. While it’s hard to not focus on the negative, it’s so important to practice gratitude right now more than ever. A lot of people finally had the opportunity to look inside themselves and focus on things they were maybe ignoring for a long time. Growth has played a big factor in these unprecedented times, and maybe you’re feeling a lot prouder about who you’ve become. Maybe you’ve spent time with family that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. These things may seem minor now, but they’ll mean so much to you later. And above all else, thank your bodies for keeping you protected and helping you get through the turmoil of 2020.

The Frenshe Editors