Tips to Managing Holiday Stress

Tips to Managing Holiday Stress

Category : Creators

By Nokwanda Nkomo B.A., B.S.W.

The holidays can be a time full of great cheer, joy and glee. They  can also cause stress, tension and isolation.  This a challenging time as  we are try to fit in a number of tasks and activities, while altering our usual routine and possibly repeating this for a number of days. It is always a  great time to reconnect with loved ones near and far and is meant to be a time of leisure. This is also a time where we are challenged by the differences, tensions and gaps in our relationships. Sometimes we are faced with grief and the recognition of those who are not there to enjoy the festivities with us.  What is particularly important during this time of the year is how we take care of ourselves and continue to be mindful of what is good for you and what will harm you. I encourage you all to remain optimistic yet realistic. Welcome letting go of expectations, be it traditions, budgets or the interactions that do not go according to plan and avoid paying the emotional tax later. Check out some tips on managing holiday stress below.


1. PHYSICAL EXERCISE: Arm yourself with some practical coping techniques and strategies for the season.  A quick one that can be used at the dinner table without anyone even noticing is the “hoku spot”. By pressing the area in the middle of your thumb and index finger for 30 seconds. This allows firm pressure in the area which can reduce tension in the upper body. Trusted breathing exercises and slowing your breathing can also help to restore your inner calm.

2. REACH OUT: if you are feeling lonely or isolated during the holiday season, browse the internet for local social events in your community that you can attend. Many Organizations that offer free meals, holiday events that are available to all. This is also a great way to find ways to give back to the community.

3. DON’T OVER SCHEDULE: The holidays tend to be the busiest time of the year. Despite our best efforts, it often is not realistic to visit each single family member and friends during such a short and busy period. Find alternative ways to celebrate with those loved ones near and far via text, phone calls, and emails. A great time to create that group text and share all the holiday memories with everyone in just one click!

4.  STICK TO YOUR BUDGET: Before you go gift shopping, plan and commit to a budget that will allow you to still be comfortable after the holiday adrenaline wears off. Try alternatives to store bought gifts like handmade gifts as well as starting new gift exchange traditions that won’t break the bank.  

5. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF: Don’t abandon those healthy habits you practiced throughout the year. Stick to your routines the best you can. Incorporate  physical activity into your holiday schedule. No time for your usual hour work out? Take a walk around the neighborhood. That 15 minutes of alone time could help you to remain refreshed and ready to tackle on the holiday adventures.

6. SLEEP: Get plenty of sleep!  It is hard to keep up with the hussle and bustle of the holiday season while fighting exhaustion. Adequate sleep promotes brain function and plays a vital role in one’s mental health. Nap if you can! 

7. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IF YOU NEED IT: Many folks find themselves  experiencing depression, stress and persistent sadness during the holiday season. Reach out to Suicide prevention helplines, Counsellors, online supports like Big White Wall. If you find yourself unable to cope and manage any of the emotions and stress. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.