5 Ways To Deal With Holiday Stress & Battle The Christmas Blues

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-12-158

From talking to a few people lately, it seems that holiday cheer may not be what a lot of us are feeling. No, it’s not just because of the financial pressures we face during this time of year. Of course, there are the heightened expectations that you mix with reunions with people you may not normally get along with. There’s the pressure and stress of dealing with consumerism and your Christmas list. There’s the worry that your debt grows during these next few months. Even the disruption to your regular schedule and unexpected turns in your routine can get on your nerves or cause your nerves to frazzle. And then, after you function on adrenaline for some extended period of time, you get the crash.

It also doesn’t help that your diet changes to accommodate extra treats this time of year, in the form of sugar, starch, fats and more sugar. And if you practice a lot of self-control to avoid these temptations, you may be proud of yourself but you could also be just a tad bit frustrated — because everyone else is enjoying the charming cakes, holiday cookies, candies, confections and eggnog but you! Plus, the days are colder and shorter, which makes us feel lazy; it’s also the kind of weather that would find us sick and possibly even depressed.

holiday stress
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How To Deal With Holiday Stress & Battle The Christmas Blues

So don’t be too surprised if you’re not in a good mood right now. Everything is rush, fret and worry. Well here are a few quick suggestions on how to manage the stresses of the season:

1. Learn to relax. Even if it’s only for a short bit of time, it’s important to take a moment to catch your breath. Take 30 minutes to sit and meditate, do a little yoga, or ride a bike. Maybe 30 minutes to walk around the block could help relax you. If you’re like me, then this doesn’t come naturally and you’re feeling the need to program yourself to relax. It’s a learned skill for some of us! Here are some yoga poses you may want to try:

yoga poses
Image from Yo-Ga.Info

2. Can you say “No”? If too much is on your plate, are you able to say “No”? Don’t feel too guilty if you’ve turned down that 3rd party invitation — your mind and body will thank you later! Try to accept the fact that you may have to cut back.

3. Stick to your guns. You made a plan a while ago to honor your Christmas budget and your holiday list. I would watch it for scope creep!

4. Manage expectations. This is not just your ability to say “no” (as in point #2). It’s also about managing YOUR expectations and making sure you aren’t too hard on yourself or anyone else during this hectic period. Are you secretly hoping you’ll receive a pretty piece of jewelry from your beloved? Are you expecting a close friend to pick out the perfect geek gift for you? Too often, we think that whatever gifts we give away should be matched in value by the stuff we receive. But the reality here is that Christmas should mainly be about reflecting on the past year and hopefully enjoying the company of people we may not have seen in a while (and who knows… may not see again?).

5. Focus on things that won’t make you miserable. Not everyone looks upon this time as positive. But the exercise of keeping the good stuff in focus as much as possible may possibly help alleviate the negative energy. Joining communities (church, local groups, clubs etc) during this time of year can keep cheer alive. If your moods are not on the mild side, then consider seeing a professional.

This month will entail a lot of money / time / relationship management, which all translates to added stress. But really, we’re all in the same boat — maybe we should just be courageous enough to admit that there are limits to what we can do, spend and handle. In fact, it’ll be over way too soon.

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Consumermiser December 16, 2010 at 2:31 am

SVB,

This is great advice. I once observed a person literally break down and cry in line at a store and say, “I cannot take it anymore.” The person was in the latter stages of buying gifts and broke down momentarily. I vowed not to let that happen to me or my loved ones.

There is a lot of stress during the holiday season to get the perfect gift and to make sure you get something for EVERYONE since this is the season of “giving”, but it can lead to a lot of stress and can lead people to overspend. I deal with the season by not seriously starting to shop until way after Thanksgiving so that I make sure to be thankful first. I don’t worry about what to buy until after Thanksgiving and am not in a rush or panic to start. Second, I check my BUDGET and finances so that I do not overspend. Third, I do not spend a lot of time actually buying things. Instead, I spend time with my family and we browse the stores and create a WIST LIST (asking folks what they want instead of guessing helps too) and price things. This gives everyone in the family an appreciation of the cost of things. Sure, Santa will provide gifts too, but the kids know it’s not JUST Santa that provides the gifts. And if Santa does not provide them, it costs everyone else to do so. Fourth, stay within budget and don’t get too many gifts for the kids (or adults) that they will only play with or use for a short time anyway. Instead, I focus on key gifts that they really want and will use (again browsing with them or asking for wish list helps in this area). Fifth, I now take the week off before Christmas to relax (learn to relax is your #1 tip). I do my Christmas shopping and do things around the house. Finally, I focus on being thankful for what I have and not what I do not have or what I did or did not give or receive for Christmas.

The Everyday Minimalist December 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

I like yoga for destressing. Also good for your body, so you don’t wake up all achey and crappy. Like I did today.

Silicon Valley Blogger December 16, 2010 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the great suggestions ConsumerMiser! Our own values are tied to how we manage expectations, and it could be based on the company we keep and the circles we circulate in. If someone hangs around a community of supportive, easy-going people, then they probably won’t be having the same kind of pressures experienced by those who hang out with people “who have money”.

@Ms Minimalist, I’m quite achey and crappy more often than I’d like (then again, I’m at that age…). So yes, I love yoga — have been picking it up from my sister as well as a dear friend who swear by it. I am actually quite flexible and can do a lot of fun stunts surprisingly well. My favorite right now is the “core position” (sort of a stay-in-place push up). I sometimes freeze in that position while reading or working (hold it as long as I can). :)

Alex September 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Awesome…. Thanks for the reasonable advice. I hope these yoga poses are useful for my depression. I’ll try them out.

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