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How to Cope With Holiday Stress in 2021

This holiday season, many of us will finally be able to see our loved ones after a couple of years of distance and chaos. For some, this time of year may filled with love, joy, and laughter; but for others, the holidays can be a time filled with stress, anxiety, and tension.  

In fact, over 38% of people say their stress levels rise during the holidays. From picking the right presents for your friends and family, to reuniting with the relatives you don’t really vibe with, it’s easy to feel stressed as the year comes to an end.

If you feel like you could use some extra help this December, try coping with holiday stress in using these helpful tips: 

  1. Prioritize yourself 
    This may be the season of giving, but it’s important to put your well-being first. If you find yourself stressing out because you’re constantly trying to please everyone, maybe it’s time to set some boundaries. Did you RSVP to one-too-many holiday parties? Did you spend copious amounts of time stressing about picking the right gift for your mother-in-law? Or maybe you’re concerned about sitting through unwanted political talk at your upcoming family function. You might feel like a bottle of prosecco, ready to explode at any moment due to the amount of stress building up inside of you – and the last thing you want is to blow up in the middle of a family gathering only to leave feeling embarrassed and ashamed. Take a day just for yourself, RSVP no to a get-together you know will exhaust you, or get help from a handy dandy holiday gift guide to help you choose the right gift for your loved one. 

  2. Tune into relaxation 
    It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but we must remember to practice self-care and listen to our bodies. If you feel physically or mentally exhausted, don’t ignore it. Take some time to practice yoga for 20 minutes a day, sign up for a guided meditation app, use some self-massage tools, get a relaxing facial, or just take a warm bubble bath. You don’t want to end the year burnt out! 

  3. Nourish your body 
    When you’re busy and on-the-go, it can be difficult to prep, and eat, healthy meals. Set aside time every day to eat a hearty meal with all the nutrients your body needs to think and feel your best. If you feel overwhelmed by prepping and making healthy meals daily, try a healthy meal subscription service to save you the hassle of shopping for and prepping the meal ahead of time. Or, list out your favorite go-to healthy foods, like broccoli, cauliflower, or berries and find easy meals to incorporate those foods into. 

  4. Make time for hobbies 
    When we start to feel like our days are full of tasks that are rudimentary or frustrating (such as, work, school, or household chores) it’s essential to incorporate a few activities we love into our schedules. Pick up a book and transport yourself into another world for an hour, get lost in a jigsaw puzzle, buy a cookie decorating kit, or start learning how to knit. Hobbies have been shown to benefit our mental health, helping us structure our time, cope with stress, and add layers to our identities. 

  5. Remember to laugh 
    Did you know that laughter can have long- and short-term benefits on our mental health? Laughter releases endorphins, our body’s feel-good chemicals. Laughing helps to get rid of stress, soothe tension in the body, relieve pain, elevate mood, and even strengthen our immune systems! If you feel like your life is lacking laughter, find new and exciting ways to make yourself laugh. Watch a new comedy show on your favorite streaming service, start attending a live comedy club near you, or surround yourself with people who you know will put a smile on your face. 

  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help 
    There’s no shame in asking for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed during the holidays. Seeking professional help from a therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor can be extremely beneficial for all people; not just those who are dealing with mental health disorders. Having a professional to tell your problems to and get feedback on how to properly deal with them can be immensely beneficial to our daily lives and how we interact with those around us. The short- and long-term benefits of therapy are endless. Even if you can’t afford therapy, there are other ways to ask for help, too. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of gifts you have to wrap, call a friend or a family member and ask if they’d mind helping you wrap while you watch a movie or listen to music together. Or maybe you promised to take your kids to a holiday play but you’re feeling exhausted; call up an aunt, uncle, or grandparents to see if they would mind taking the kids instead while you relax at home. Asking for help with those overwhelming tasks will not only ease your mind, but can also create new, fun memories for the person who’s helping you out.  

Remember, if you’re feeling stressed this holiday season, you’re not alone. After the chaotic couple of years we’ve endured, it makes sense. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Keep these coping tips in mind to help you have a more relaxed and joieful holiday season.