Monday, November 21, 2011

Ways to Overcome Christmas Stress

Ways to Overcome Christmas Stress

Reducing Christmas anxiety and stress can be as simple as taking a walk and sipping hot chocolate, or as complicated as creating a schedule for your family, to make your holidays happy.

1. Get specific and practical about Christmas anxieties. Figure out exactly what you’re stressed about at Christmas, and deal with it. For example, if you’re worried about money, then do a gift exchange and draw names in your family. Or, research inexpensive, easy homemade gifts (eg, jars of dry cookie mix or a card detailing exactly what you and others love and appreciate about someone). Consider Christmas gift shopping online, but do it early! If you’re worried about your diet and exercise levels, schedule specific times to exercise – and stick with your plan. Deal with your stress in practical ways, and remember that holiday anxiety increases when you feel like you have no control.

2. Ask for help to reduce holiday anxiety. If you’re cooking Christmas dinner for the family and are filled with holiday anxiety, ask for help from your friends and family. If you don’t know what gifts to give to family and friends, ask for suggestions. If you’re worried that your uncle will get drunk and mean, contact a counselor or family member for practical ways to prevent or alleviate the situation. Ending holiday anxiety involves reaching out to others, especially over the Christmas season. Holiday stress and Christmas anxiety will be easier to overcome when you don’t feel like you’re in it alone.

3. Accept imperfections to overcome stress. The family will fight, the gifts will disappoint, the dog will knock down the tree, and the turkey will be dry. It’s inevitable that some troubles will arise during the holiday season; going with the flow and accepting the flaws as part of life is key to overcoming Christmas stress. Holiday season anxiety – and many types of stress – comes from unrealistic expectations. When you accept the imperfections, you’ll reduce holiday anxiety because you’ll have realistic goals and expectations.

4. Treat yourself well over the holiday season. Pamper yourself with a massage, pedicure, manicure or day spa (but book it early!). Work up a sweat by skating, snowshoeing or exercising at the gym – physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce holiday season anxiety. Express your feelings to a friend, in your journal, or with music. Get enough sleep. Go to a movie in the middle of the day. Indulge in some chocolate or holiday baking, but don’t overindulge.

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- Article contributed by

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