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Coping With Holiday Stress

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.The holidays can be a blast, but they also can be a source of great stress — and no wonder. The holidays are often depicted as a magical time when people gather under the mistletoe and dreams come true.

"Being realistic is the first step. If you are feeling the effects of the economic downturn don’t pretend that all is well. Develop a realistic plan to bounce back and stay focused. Set some priorities on spending, gift giving and entertaining. Knowing your spending limit is an important way to relieve holiday stress. People believe that they have to go out and buy gifts because it’s the holidays, even if they can’t afford to do so. Not only is it stressful to feel that you have to buy everyone an expensive gift, but you’ll be stressed for the rest of the year trying to pay off your bills. You can show love and caring by getting something that you know is meaningful and personal for that person that doesn’t have to cost a lot.

People shouldn’t have to put their lives on pause or totally rearrange their schedules either because of the holidays. Learn to prioritize the invitations you accept and don’t feel that you have to go to every holiday gathering.

If you’re feeling really out of sorts because of any chronic or current stressors, like a death or recent romantic break-up, you may want to avoid some of the festivities because they are so out of sync with how you’re feeling. Try to tell those around you what you really need, since they may not know how to help you, and ask for their understanding if you decline an activity.

Parents need to tell their children to be realistic. It is OK to say to your child that a certain toy is too expensive. And even Santa Claus has limited funds and has to choose what to give because he has a very long list. You can also tell your children that Mom and Dad and Santa Claus will try to choose the most suitable present for the child. Children have to learn that their wish is not someone’s command and to curb their desires for instant gratification.

Take stock of your expectations and make sure they’re realistic.

You should trust your own instincts and don’t try to be what you’re not. Remember even as your world shakes and trembles walk around feeling like a leaf.

Know you could tumble any second.

Then decide what to do with your time.

 

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