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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