Although Thanksgiving has come and gone, many still experience a bit of stress or anxiety during this busy time of year. Our minds keep circling with new things to do - purchase gifts for family, make cookies for the cookie exchange, schedule lunch with friends, complete assignments at work, and so on.
In addition to these stressors, is one of the biggest sources of holiday stress: family. Our families may have expectations of where we need to be during the holidays and what holiday traditions we need to continue.
Stress can build up over time and lead to tension during the holidays. Part of reducing stress involves identifying what it is about the holidays that leads you to feel stressed and/or anxious. When specific stressors are identified, you are better equipped to manage them directly. Give more attention to the holiday stressors in which you can actually have an influence. Perhaps we cannot change the weather, but there are other stressors we can control; focus on those.
Use some of the strategies below to better prepare for and/or cope with holiday stress and anxiety. Overall, the main goal is to simplify the holidays.
When you receive a request to do something, consider the amount of time it will take and the amount of time you have available. It is okay to refuse some time-consuming requests to avoid being too exhausted to enjoy the holidays. Likewise, you do not have to accept every party invitation you receive. Talk with your family about which would be most enjoyable for everyone, and politely decline the others.
Develop a realistic, affordable spending plan. Relieve potential holiday stress by managing your money and holiday spending. Develop a budget for the holidays and stick to it as best you can. Analyze the amount of money required for holiday activities and gifts; decide if these costs are worth the end result.
Give kindness instead of tangible gifts. The gifts that money can't buy are sometimes the best gifts. Take time to volunteer, do something nice for a neighbor, or visit someone who does not have family in the area. It will lift their spirits and yours.
Increase healthy habits like physical activity. Physical activity can reduce stress and result in feelings of "well-being." Include family or friends, spend time outdoors, or walk in the malls. Also, get plenty of sleep and take time to relax by reading a book, listening to music, or working on your favorite hobby.
Keep the lines of communication open. Communication may get a little more difficult this time of year. Try your best to share information with coworkers, friends, and family. Make an extra effort to listen to what they have to say, too.
And, finally, count your blessings and try to be positive. Focusing on all the positive things in your life and remaining optimistic can play a role in reducing stress.
Throughout the holidays, remember that there may be some "bumps in the road" that are beyond your control - no matter how hard you try to control them. Instead of letting them ruin your holiday, be flexible and adaptable by trying to make the best of the situation. It may just turn out to be one of those things that you remember and laugh about every year.
Dates to Remember
ServSafe Employee (Level 1) Food Safety Training: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Adams County Regional Medical Center (second floor conference room). Visit http://adams.osu.edu, http://brown.osu.edu, or http://highland.osu.edu to download a registration form. For questions, contact Amy Habig at (937) 393-1918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.