holiday stress

How to Beat Holiday Stress

Countless cheesy Hallmark movies and Christmas songs depict the holidays as a magical time filled with joy and cheer. But for many people, the holidays can cause intense anxiety, depression, and frustration. Fortunately, there are many time-tested therapeutic techniques that you can use to beat holiday stress and enjoy the festivities. 

Holiday Stress Explained 

The holidays are a significant source of stress for many people, particularly anxious and depressed individuals. These celebrations disrupt your typical routine and often involve a seemingly endless series of activities, like cooking an elaborate meal, taking pictures of your kids with Santa, and finding the perfect present for your third cousin. These demands can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. 

Financial pressures can also compound holiday stress. A 2021 survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that 46% of adults are anxious about affording holiday gifts. These concerns can lead to a seemingly unwinnable situation: you overextend your bank account to fund the holidays or feel guilty and disappointed about cutting back your spending. 

Other typical sources of holiday stress include: 

  • Family conflict 
  • Fears of catching COVID-19 at an event
  • Houseguests 
  • Internal pressure to create the perfect holiday experience
  • Isolation from family and friends 
  • Travel
  • Work demands 

Coping Strategies for Holiday Stress 

You can use a variety of coping techniques to overcome the holiday blues. 

Now that the holiday season has already begun, these in-the-moment strategies can reduce your stress: 

  • Back out of anxiety-inducing events, like a distant relative’s Christmas Eve party 
  • Call a close friend to vent 
  • Create homemade gifts instead of buying expensive presents
  • Ensure that you get adequate sleep 
  • Prioritize one or two holiday traditions and let go of other activities 
  • Say no to holiday-related activities and tasks that increase your anxiety 
  • Scale back your gift-giving 
  • Take time for a workout break

You may also consider making long-term adjustments after the holidays to help you better cope with stress in the future. Effective tactics for increasing resiliency include: 

  • Adopting healthy new routines that reduce stress, such as meditation and regular exercise 
  • Developing stronger relationships with family and friends 
  • Learning to recognize your body’s stress signals, like headaches or nausea
  • Reframing your thought processes about stressful events
  • Taking mental health holidays, like a spa day or a relaxing stay-cation 

These strategies can help you effectively manage holiday stress now and in the future. 

Seek Additional Support 

Sometimes, even the best coping strategies can fail to relieve your anxiety and depression about the holidays. If you feel like holiday stress is significantly impacting your mental health, consider reaching out to a professional for additional help. 

There are many treatments for depression, social anxiety, and other mental health disorders that cause holiday stress. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you alter unhelpful behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to holiday stress. Serene Behavioral Health also offers Mindset PrTMS, an innovative and non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate areas of your brain associated with trauma. Both of these treatments can help you handle stressful situations more effectively. 

Contact Serene Behavioral Health to learn more about how we can help you conquer holiday stress and develop resiliency. 

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