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Keeping Holiday Stress Under Control

Keeping Holiday Stress Under Control

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Behavioral Health

The holidays can be a time of happiness and joy, but despite your best intentions, they can encompass all sorts of stressors. The stressors can tempt us to overindulge or stop taking care of ourselves as the season keeps us busy. Pressures related to finances, extended family, loss of loved ones, work-life or weather can be challenging during this time. While many anticipate happy holidays, others dread the season. If you feel stressed, the obligations at holiday time can take their toll on even the most cheerful of people. 


First ask yourself what exactly about the season makes you feel stressed.

Your feelings may be triggered by the following: 

  • Unhappy memories 

  • Relatives who are particularly difficult 

  • Personal loss 

  • Cooler temperatures, eating more and sleeping less 

  • Financial stress  


Here are some tips to help you minimize holiday stress: 

  • Don’t feel you must meet all obligations or invitations. Make a list of the reasons why you participate in some holiday traditions to help you decide what events you should avoid and what to join.  

  • Don’t simply do something or go somewhere because of tradition, especially if it makes you unhappy. 

  • Ask others for assistance. For example, ask a relative to host the family get-together, or make it a potluck and have everyone contribute to the meal.  

  • Make a to-do list in chronological order to minimize stress. 

  • Enjoy the present day and try not to worry about what may not be perfect. 

  • Limit your alcohol intake.  

  • Stay active and continue to eat a balanced diet. 

  • Create a new tradition such as volunteering, especially if you feel lonely.  

  • Make time for yourself and your needs, even when hosting guests in your house. 

  • Don’t overspend; make yourself a budget and stick to it with no exceptions.  

  • Learn to say no. It’s OK not to do everything. 


Also, your mood may take a turn for the worse in the winter season. When there is less sunlight and shorter days, some suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Make a point to be in the sun when you can. If you feel down and stressed, consider talking to your doctor. 


Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.