It’s the most wonderful time of the year, yet most adults suffer from “festive stress” around the holidays because of gift shopping, crowds, extra cleaning and cooking, financial concerns and the pressure to create the perfect Christmas on top of everything. Dr. Ron DeVries from Pine Rest stopped by with tips on how we can better manage this festive stress. 

It feels counterintuitive, that all this fun and festivity would stress us out, but all the extra activities and expectations on top of every day responsibilities can be stressful. Unfortunately, many of us turn to less healthy energy boosts to get us through … sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which can make us even more tired in the long run. 

We also tend to push ourselves to fit it all in and neglect good self-care, when we should be taking small minutes breaks and being more vigilant about taking good care of ourselves. Like the oxygen mask dropping down in an emergency on the plane…you really need to take care of yourself first. It’s not selfish; it keeps you able to take care of your responsibilities and those who depend on you.

Here are some ideas for those small (5-15 minute) breaks…

  • Deep breathe for 5 minutes…
  • Tune into your senses MINDFULLY … go outside and feel the cool air your skin, watch holiday lights on a neighbor’s house, light a candle, smell the Christmas tree or holiday potpourri
  • Move around … dance in your living room, build a snowman, use the stairs, park in the furthest spot from the building
  • Listen to your favorite soothing music
  • Call a friend you can laugh with and talk for 5 minutes
  • Do absolutely nothing!

More helpful tips for self-care:

  • Pick a few favorite holiday activities and skip the rest
  • Simplify your festivities – people are more interested in time together rather each and every decoration and treat
  • Bring along water and healthy snacks for those days that will be more hectic
  • You’d don’t have to skip all the fun … but on most days, try to get enough sleep and eat healthy 
  • Go outdoors when you can … for a quick walk or run, skate, ski, snowshoe

The information above is courtesy of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. Need more tips for the holidays? Visit Pine Rest’s "Coping with the Holidays" collection of articles.

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