For many, mention of the holiday season elicits thoughts of crackling fireplaces, snowflakes falling gently from the sky, and reunions with loved ones. However, unwelcome feelings of stress can dampen the joyous spirit of the season. The higher stress levels associated with the season could be attributed to any number of factors. The time period can be overwhelming for those who feel pressured to craft the perfect holiday experience. Some people may also feel burdened by a sudden increase in tasks, such as preparing for celebrations, procuring gifts, and hosting visitors. Additionally, finances, eating habits, and schedules may all be disrupted during the holidays. Holiday season stress may manifest itself in the form of headaches, fatigue, irritability, binge eating or drinking, and trouble sleeping. It is vital to remember that increased stress during the holiday season is completely normal, and that there are methods that can help ease the anxiety.
Tips for Managing Stress Levels
There are plenty of viable solutions for improving holiday season stress levels; one of the qualified professionals at Transitions Counseling in Franklin, MA, can help decide which strategies will work best for each individual’s needs. One possible technique for lessening the stress of the holidays involves early planning. Shopping for little gifts throughout the year can serve to avoid the accumulation of expensive bills, the panicky last minute shopping, and the stress of dealing with the holiday crowds. Also, scheduling the arrangements for holiday events in advance can provide time to mentally prepare for stressful situations.
Another piece of helpful advice is to practice self-care and set aside alone time. “Me time” can be a great way to relax and reflect upon the joyful aspects of life. Allowing time for low-pressure activities such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath can do wonders for stress relief. Never feel guilty for taking some time to focus on self-care. It is also helpful to be mindful of the present rather than ruminating on the past or fretting about the future. In addition, limiting alcohol, which is a depressant, may help to lift spirits. Keep in mind that your own happiness should remain a priority despite the potentially busy and hectic time.
Volunteering is another wonderful way to combat holiday blues. Giving back is one way to make multiple positive changes at once. Donating time or resources to a worthy cause, especially one that corresponds with one’s passion, can distract from the burden of individual problems. Aiding those in need is often uplifting. It fosters a sense of community, and serves to remind everyone of the true spirit of the holidays. Service also works as a gentle reminder that everyone has struggles to bear. In this regard, it is the perfect method for putting personal issues into perspective. There are plenty of charitable organizations to choose from in the Greater Boston area.
Similarly, reflecting upon what you truly value about the holiday season can help to improve your mood. Although there may be some pressure to concoct a series of delicious gourmet meals or to select the most perfectly suited gifts, keep in mind that these things are not necessities. If appreciating time spent with loved ones is a priority, remember to refocus on that ultimate goal whenever external factors threaten to spoil the mood. Be realistic about expectations. No holiday celebration will go exactly as planned, but that’s perfectly fine. CBT certified therapists can help you to reframe any spontaneous, messy, or less than perfect experience as an opportunity to create a new shared memory. Also, if finances are a source of stress during this time period, try to remember that wonderful celebrations can be planned economically; there’s no need to break the bank in the pursuit of the perfect holiday party. To prevent overspending, craft a realistic budget beforehand.
Possibly the most useful piece of advice would be to utilize a personal support system. Talking about apprehensions, concerns, and stress with family and friends will help. Confiding in others can reassure you that you are not alone. Healthy and positive conversations can also be very cathartic. Once these feelings have been acknowledged, it becomes much easier to start working towards a solution. However, dealing with the stress of the holiday season alone may just not be feasible. Speaking with a professional at Transitions Counseling will help ease the burden of stress.
Advantages of Treatment
Anyone can benefit from speaking with a certified mental health professional about stress, anxiety, or feelings of depression. Consulting with a licensed therapist will bring about a variety of benefits. The team of empathetic, highly qualified therapists at Transitions Counseling will provide clients with guidance. They will help identify issues and stressors, assist in the creation of a plan to alleviate stress and negative thoughts, propose strategies for altering unhealthy patterns of behaviors or thoughts, help to address any emotional issues, and contribute to the development of realistic goals. Ultimately, with the help of qualified professionals located in the Greater Boston area, holiday-induced stress can be entirely manageable. To learn more about the team of therapists in Franklin, MA or Norfolk, MA, call 781-742-4515. Self care can still be prioritized during busy times.