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I’ve decided that on Mondays I’ll often be doing a “mental health monday” post. I’m a counselor, but tend to talk primarily about the physical aspects of health on this blog. I’m trying to get more of a balance of the physical and mental/emotional aspects of health. So, in that vain, and because it’s finally the Christmas season (!!), I decided to do a post on decreasing your stress during the holidays.

I know that the holiday season can be really stressful, and the important thing to remember is that you are in control of yourself, and you can make decisions to decrease that stress. Here are a few tips to help you decrease you stress during the next few weeks.

  1. Set a budget for yourself and stick to it! There’s no reason you need to go into debt during Christmas. Spending can get out of control, and this will only increase you stress levels in the months following December. Set a reasonable budget for yourself and buy accordingly. This also goes for holiday decorations and clothing.
  2. Release the expectation that you can be the perfect superhero! Sometimes we feel pressure to do everything perfectly during the Christmas season; provide the perfect meals, the perfect parties, the perfect gifts, etc… Humans tend to crack under pressure, and of course we can’t be perfect even if we try! Check yourself to see if you’re struggling with the “superhero complex”, and work on releasing that.
  3. Set realistic expectations for participation in activities. Does anyone else get overwhelmed with the amount of activities that are presented to you during this month? Between parties, concerts, gift exchanges, work events, family activities, Christmas movie viewing, caroling, cookie decorating, house decorating, and everything else in between, it’s one packed month. We can’t do everything without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. To be honest, how fun is an event you’re going to out of obligation while feeling stressed? If you can prioritize your events, and maybe say no to a few things along the way, you can limit your stress due to a busy schedule.
  4. Limit the people that you buy for. I think sometimes we feel pressure to get everyone in our life a little something. Remember what I said above about sticking to a budget? This is what I’m talking about. It’s just not practical to buy something for everyone in your life. You don’t owe it to them, and shopping for so many people can just get stressful. Limit the people that you buy for, and give out of generosity, not obligation. It’s ok to tell someone that you would like to buy for them, but you’re tight on money, for example.
  5. Implement the strategies for surviving the holidays with your family. Last Monday I devoted an entire post to this. You can read that post here.

More tips to come soon! The important thing to remember is that you get a choice as to how you choose to handle your stress over the holidays!

Now it’s your turn to share! Do you feel pressured to buy for lots of people in your life? How do you decide who to buy for and who not to buy for?