Truly enjoying the holidays: Social stress tips to a 'saner' you

Only 7 days left everyone until the “big day”, and for many people, the holidays are more stressful than enjoyable. It’s not just the financial pressure, but social interactions can be at the best of times a strain. Having a busy schedule on top of it can make the holidays feel like more of a drag and we end up missing the point of having a holiday. 

How can we ‘create’ a stress-​free holiday?


Truly, we won’t be able to have a completely stress-​free holiday. Conflict is a natural part of life, just as is harmony. What we can do is change how we think about our interactions, and as a result, the holiday will be easier

Social stress tips to a ‘saner’ you

  • Accept what you are about to walk into
You may not have the best relationships with all of the family and friends’ events that you will be attending, and some of their behaviour can stress you out or make you feel uncomfortable. It’s better to accept that you might feel uncomfortable than to hope it will be different. Managing your own expectations.
  • Prepare some “escapes” and a script
Now that you know you might be uncomfortable, why not prepare a few topics in your head that you are comfortable talking about in conversations with said individuals, or topics you know will bring out the best in them? If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can always walk away for a few minutes, get a glass of water or a snack. You are not obligated to get stuck in the corner for an hour.
  • Recognize that you are unique

It’s okay to feel differently about various aspects of the holidays. What you think is special or important, another person in your family might think is “dorky” or “juvenile”. It’s okay to feel emotionally upset or elated — they are your feelings. It’s what makes us unique.

  • Take care of your body

Burying yourself in baked goods or alcoholic beverages to get through a stressful event might help in the short-​term, but in the long-​term causes nausea and regret. Thinking in advance about your personal goals for eating, drinking, and how you want to feel at the end of a night might help to make your choices more moderate and less reactive in the moment.

  • Take some deep breaths

Take a few deep breaths! So the turkey went on fire. So what? The rest of the stuffing is there. You will get through this. Deep breathing brings oxygen to the brain and will help to restore calmness.

  • Make some time for yourself

Squeeze in a few minutes — there are always a few minutes — just for yourself. Try not to think big about those few minutes, as they can be just walking around the block or even just looking at the lights at this time of year.

I’ll be thinking of all of you this holiday, and hoping that you have a holiday that you can be settled with and know that it will work out just as it should.

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