How to Cope With Holiday Stress

How to Cope With Holiday Stress | Dr. Ali Ghahary

While the holidays are a fun time of year for many, they can also trigger a great amount of stress and anxiety for others. Dr. Ali Ghahary hopes that by sharing some helpful tips below, people will be able reduce their stress levels and enjoy the holiday season.

The first thing you should do if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed is to acknowledge those feelings. By keeping your emotions bottled inside you, you could actually make the stress, depression and anxiety even worse. If you’re feeling down due to the loss of a close friend or loved one, realize that it’s completely normal and acceptable to have feelings of grief and know that there are many others out there going through the same grieving process as you.

The holidays are also a time where families get together – and unfortunately, for some, that means drama. While you don’t have to get along with everyone, try to keep any negative conversations with your family members for another time and have the holidays be a time where you do your best to set aside any grievances. Families also change and grow over time, which means the holiday traditions you were once used to might change as well. For example, children grow into adults, move out of the house, and eventually have families of their own – meaning you might not get to spend every holiday with them. If you’re celebrating the holidays apart from your family members this year, try to create new traditions and keep in touch with them via e-mail, text message, or by writing letters.

Many people also get stressed about money during the holiday season, and Canadians often tend to overspend this time of year. While you might want to buy the perfect gift for everyone on your list, it’s also important to not spend beyond your means if you can’t afford it. Instead, stick to a budget. You can even make homemade gifts (Pinterest is great for finding ideas), and if you’re stumped on what to buy someone then another alternative would be to donate to a charity of their choice.

Also remember to take some time for yourself and realize it’s OK to say “no”. We’re often scrambling around for others or doing last minute preparations that it’s easy to forget to stop and breathe. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to set aside for yourself, with no distractions, can help to reduce stress and clear your mind. This could mean something as simple as sitting down and watching your favourite TV show, reading a book, listening to music, getting a massage, or going for a walk.

Despite these helpful tips, some people may simply find the holidays too much to bear. Depression is often at an increased rate during the holiday season, and if you or someone you know feels plagued by thoughts of sadness, hopelessness, or is feeling suicidal, please reach out to a medical professional. You can find a list of mental health resources by clicking here.

For more holiday-related information, check out these other articles from Dr. Ali Ghahary: ‘Holiday Health Hazards’, ‘Healthy Holiday Eating’ and ‘Winter Safety Tips’.