Holiday Stress: 5 Tips to Cope with It

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As soon as the malls start playing Christmas carols, we can’t help but feel our spirits lift. Yet we also dread the anxiety and stress that come with every holiday season ever since we turned adults. It’s the time for drawing up our gifts list, meeting relatives we sometimes wish we didn’t have to and having to attend the numerous parties. On top of it all, the days get darker too early and it’s cold and snowing outside, making us prone to colds and flu.

This year, the holidays need not be as terrifying as the seasons past. Here’s a guide to actually enjoying Christmas and surviving the days unscathed. And when the New Year rolls in, you’re ready to embrace it with a positive outlook and look forward to only good things.

5 Tips to Coping with Holiday Stress

Prepare early.

For many, gift-giving is one of the most stressful activities during the Christmas season. Aside from the family, you’re expected to give gifts to extended relatives and friends. Draw up the list early – names and corresponding gifts for each. There are several apps for this task, and they are very helpful with suggestions based on hobbies, ages, etc.

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Shop early, too, to avoid the inevitable crowds and long lines at the cashier. Take advantage of the Black Friday sale to get huge discounts. Better yet, shop online so you don’t get stressed out walking around.

Change your perspective.

Stop feeling obligated to attend the annual clan reunions or every party you’re invited to. Christmases are like birthdays – they come every year, whether you like it or not. If you’re too busy, too tired or just don’t feel like going, skip some gatherings without feeling guilty. There’s always next year.

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Learn to say no to requests for volunteers or for party preparations if they are too taxing. Choose those that you’ll be happy to do instead of spreading yourself thin doing everything. You don’t have to make lame excuses; simply say you can’t.

Keep a journal.

If you don’t have one yet, start keeping a journal. Write about your life, the events that have happened and how you felt about them. In a personal journal, you can write about anything without fear of judgment. Release all your joys, sorrows, fear, anger, frustration…whatever. Journaling gives you a cathartic release which is blissfully de-stressing.

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If you have the ideas but have to grope blindly for the words to express them, try an article writing service for help. It is worth it if only for re-reading your journal later and enjoying your vivid recollection of the experiences because they were well written.

Take good care of yourself.

In the hustle and bustle that accompany the holiday season every year, don’t try to do too much so that you forget to take care of your own self. Nurture your physical body with nutritious and healthy meals. Don’t give in to the temptation of gorging on sugary and greasy foods. Get enough sleep to recoup the energy expended in the daytime and work out, even if walking or jogging is all you can manage to squeeze in. Get a massage to loosen the knots in your muscles.

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Retreat from the noise and merrymaking by taking time out to be alone. Listen to soothing music or nature sounds. Meditate a few minutes daily without distractions. When you clear your mind of clutter, your heart rate and breathing slow down and you reclaim the mental calm, readying you to face the temporal world again.

Break from the old and create new traditions.

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Traditions handed down from generations past can be stressful especially if you are expected to continue doing them. No one is duty-bound to carry on long-held practices against their will. Feel free to create your own traditions. If you always stayed home for the season, try traveling and spending Christmas in another place. If Christmas dinner is always an enormous feast at home that everyone enjoys except you because you’re too tired from preparing it, go to a fancy restaurant instead.

May your holiday season be filled with love and joy and may everyone’s hearts be filled with kindness and gratitude.

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