Tips for Managing Stress During the Holidays


If you’re like most people, the holiday season is a time when stress levels go through the roof.

According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The reasons given: lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings.

Guide to Managing Mental Health Around the Holidays

From shopping and cooking to family gatherings and office parties, there’s a lot to juggle. And if you’re not careful, all that stress can affect your health.

Here are some tips for coping with stress about your job, your family interactions, and the economy during the holidays:

In this anatomy picture, there's a breakdown of how stress impacts you physically from teeth grinding and headaches to tense muscles.

1. Don’t let the stress of your job ruin your holidays

The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. But for many people, the stress of work and worries about the economy can ruin their holiday cheer.

Here are some tips on how to avoid letting work stress and worries about a recession ruin your holidays:

  • Start by shrinking your schedule. Trying to do too much during the holidays can leave you feeling stressed and frazzled. By setting realistic expectations, you can avoid the extra pressure of a perfect holiday.
  • Create clear personal and professional boundaries. Don’t let work stress spill over into your personal life. When you’re at work, focus on work. When you’re at home, focus on spending time with your loved ones. This may mean you need to take a break. Use your vacation days or take a mental health day. This will help you recharge and come back feeling refreshed. Don’t let work stress ruin your holidays.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others. During the holidays, don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on what makes you happy and what brings you joy.
  • Focus on the positive. Make a list of things you’re thankful for, things that make you happy, or your goals for the future. This will help you refocus your thoughts and put things into perspective.
  • Take care of yourself. Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. This will help your body and mind cope with stress in a better way.
  • Seek out support if you’re struggling. If you’re feeling stressed or down during the holidays, reach out to family and friends for support. There’s no shame in seeking help if you’re struggling. Whether it’s a friend, family member, therapist, or hotline, talking to someone can help you gain perspective and release some of the stress you’re feeling.

2. Managing your family stressors

Whether you’re estranged from your family or parents are bugging you about having kids, your older brother is being competitive about *life*, or your sister’s annoying husband can’t stop talking politics, you’re probably faced with some additional pressures this time of year. From worrying about what to wear to dealing with difficult relatives, it’s no wonder the holidays are a source of anxiety for so many people. But there are some things you can do to help reduce stress and make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are a few tips for avoiding arguments with your family during the holidays:

  • Set boundaries. If you know there are certain topics that are likely to lead to an argument, try to avoid them. You don’t have to avoid all controversial subjects, but it can help to steer clear of hot-button issues.
  • Listen more than you talk. When you’re in the middle of an argument, it can be tempting to try to prove your point by talking over others. But listening more than you talk can help diffuse the situation and make it more likely that you’ll actually be heard.
  • Try to see things from their perspective. It can be difficult to understand why someone else sees things differently than you do. But if you can try to see things from their perspective, it can help reduce stress and make communication easier.
  • Compromise. In any relationship, there will be times when you have to give in order to get what you want. If you’re both willing to compromise, it can help prevent arguments from spiraling out of control.
  • Walk away. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break from the situation. If things are getting too heated, excuse yourself for a few minutes to cool down. You can always come back and continue the conversation when you’re both feeling more level-headed.

Recognize that your family may impact your relationship with money and add financial stress to the holiday season.

It’s no secret that our family dynamics can have a big impact on our relationship with money. And often, that means our spending habits as well.

For example, if you come from a family of spenders, you may be more likely to spend money without thinking about it. Or, if you come from a family of savers, you may be more likely to think carefully before making a purchase. You may also feel a pressure to prove your love with big presents.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. But it’s interesting to think about how our families have influenced our spending habits. So next time you’re at the mall or browsing online, take a moment to think about your family and how they’ve helped shape your relationship with money. It might help you avoid costly holiday mistakes.

3. Don’t let things you can’t control like the economy ruin your holidays or stress you out.

From family gatherings to gift-giving, there’s a lot to think about during this time of year. And if you’re worried about money, the stress can be even greater.

But during a recession, being financially resilient can mean the difference between weathering the storm and being buried in debt.

Here are a few tips to help you stay afloat during tough economic times:

Track what’s stressing you out with a daily check-in. With the Nav.it money tracking app you can connect how you feel with what you spend.

1. Make a spending plan and stick to it. This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to be mindful of your spending during a recession. Track your income and expenses so you know where your money is going. Then, make adjustments to ensure you’re living within your means.

2. Build up an emergency fund. Having cash on hand can help you cover unexpected costs that may pop up during a recession. Aim to save enough to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. This way, if you lose your job or have a medical emergency, you won’t be left scrambling. And we get it – the holidays are a tough time to start saving. But even just putting $5 a way in case of an emergency is a step in the right direction.

3. Invest in yourself. Take this opportunity and time off to focus on your personal development. Whether it’s taking a class, learning a new skill, or reading up on financial planning, investing in yourself will pay off in the long run.

4. Cut back on unnecessary expenses. Now is the time to take a hard look at your spending and see where you can cut back. Consider switching to a less expensive cell phone plan, eating out less often, or downsizing your home.

5. Stay positive. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative news cycle during a recession. But try to focus on the positive things in your life and remain optimistic about the future. After all, recessions don’t last forever. By following these tips, you can weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

4. Manage holiday expenses and financial stresses

The holiday season is upon us, and that means stress levels are rising for many of us. If you’re worried about how to afford all the expenses associated with the holidays, or you’re simply feeling overwhelmed by the thought of all the shopping, cooking, and entertaining, don’t despair. There are ways to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank or losing your mind.

Here are some tips for a stress-free holiday season:

1. Simplify. Don’t try to do everything. Choose a few activities that you and your family enjoy the most and focus on those. Don’t feel like you have to attend every holiday party or visit every relative.

2. Take breaks. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Take a hot bath, read your favorite book, or take a walk outdoors.

3. Ask for help. If you’re struggling to do it all, ask your family and friends for help. Delegate tasks so that you’re not trying to do everything yourself.

Find ways to earn extra cash during the holiday season and beat back your money worries.

There are plenty of ways to save without sacrificing your holiday cheer. Here are a few tips:

Travel: If you’re planning on travelling for the holidays, start looking for deals early. Compare prices between different airlines and airports, and be flexible with your travel dates. You can also sign up for fare alerts so you’ll be the first to know when prices drop.

Food: Holiday meals can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs without skimping on flavor. Make a list of the dishes you really want to make, and then see if you can find recipes that use cheaper ingredients. You can also potluck with friends or family, so everyone brings a dish to share.

Shopping: When it comes to holiday shopping, start early and take advantage of sales. Make a list of the people you need to buy for, and set a budget for each person. Once you’ve found the perfect gift, don’t be afraid to haggle for a better price. (Also, remember that you’re more prone to impulse purchases online than in person.)

Gifts: If you’re looking for unique gifts that won’t break the bank, try homemade gifts or giving experiences instead of items. You can also regift items you’ve received in the past that you don’t want or need.

With these tips, you can enjoy a stress-free holiday season without breaking the bank. So put them into action and see how much easier it is to actually enjoy the holidays this year.

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