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  • Writer's pictureErin Grahn MA LPCC LAC

Holiday Stress

Updated: Apr 24, 2018

Ah, the holidays. Filled with excitement, family, and many to-do's.

Are any of you familiar with #HolidayStress? Whether we are willing to admit it or not, holidays are stressful, albeit exciting, they are still stressful.

Perhaps your holiday stress is camouflaged as:

  • Financial strain

  • Trying to please everyone

  • Not enough time for self-care

  • Additional commitments

  • Lack of sleep

  • More fast food than you want to admit

  • Personality clashes with family

  • Sugar overload

  • Pressure from others

  • Extra expenses

So what can you do to better manage the stress that holidays bring? Routine, exercise, nutrition, sleep, set boundaries, and ask for help.

Maintaining a consistent routine means that you are organizing your time. If you are organizing your time you are structuring and planning your time. This makes it difficult to overextend yourself and assists you in setting and accomplishing short-term goals.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Whoopty doo”.

When you engage in the above listed suggestions you will start to experience an increase in self-esteem! That’s right – YOU WILL FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF!

Some things to keep in mind when you structure your time:

  1. Keep your goals manageable (this means that you can actually achieve your goals).

  2. Limit the number of goals that you set for yourself. Research indicates that even a ‘high functioning’ individual can only achieve 4-5 small goals per day in addition to basic care needs.

  3. Exercise! This can be done in a number of ways and believe it or not, does not require any special ‘workout clothing’. Set a two to three small breaks every day to walk for 10 minutes. Heck, maybe you want to get your holiday dance moves on for a few minutes. Go up and down the stairs. Vacuum, sweep, mop, shovel – something that doubles as completing chores and exercise. Why do this? Because it reduces cortisol levels (STRESS HORMONES).

  4. Sleep! Go to bed at a set time and wake at a set time. Try to get 6-8 hours of quality beauty rest.

  5. Treat yourself to a nap once a week! But there are rules on napping. Only 20-30 minute naps are allowed and this is to prevent you from getting into the deeper stages of sleep that you plan on reserving for night. Brief naps actually help energize you.

  6. Get comfortable with the word ‘No’. You do not have to do and be everything for everyone. And using the word ‘No’ does not make you mean, unworthy, unloveable, unvalued.

  7. Budget. Identify what you have to spend to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly, and bill collectors away from your door. Anything after that can be used for additional purchases. And if you don’t have extra IT IS OK! The last thing anyone wants is to see someone they love accrue ridiculous credit card interest charges over a material item that can easily be replaced. Your sanity is not as easily replaced.

  8. If you have too much on your plate, ask for help. It’s ok.

  9. Eat regularly and eat healthy. Make sure that you provide your body with the proper nutrients to give it fuel. Bad nutrients = loads of caffeine and junk food. Good nutrients = vegetables, protein, healthy carbs…You know, the food pyramid stuff. If you aren’t sure, check out this website:

  10. This is the last and final guideline. Take time for self-care and fun! Watch a movie, play a game, read something you enjoy, take a warm bath, treat yourself to something delicious, and LAUGH!

While none of us have a wand that can make the #HolidayStress disappear like a holiday miracle, there are things that we can do to minimize it and more effectively manage it.    

Willow Tree Counseling | WTC | Erin GraA
Willow Tree Counseling | WTC | Fargo, ND | Erin Grahn MA LPCC LAC | Why Am I Stuck?
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