3 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season is a stressful time for many people for a variety of reasons. For some it might be the pressure of buying gifts or the burden of hosting, while others might have concerns about the financial strain associated with the holidays.

No matter your situation, it’s important not to let the natural stressors that accompany the holidays ruin the season for you. Most factors that lead to stress during the holidays are manageable through the application of mindfulness techniques and an active effort to remember the things that matter most: showing love and appreciation to the people around you and making happy memories with those people.

Some tips for maintaining this perspective and preserving the positive energy of the holiday season for yourself and your family include:

Reminding yourself that your efforts are good enough: Strict expectations to find the perfect gift, make your home look perfect before guests arrive, or to cook the perfect holiday dinner may prevent you from enjoying any of these activities (or their results). Remind yourself that there is no need for perfection in any of these areas and that what matters most is doing the best you can to ensure that your loved ones have the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with you.

Releasing yourself from the expectations and opinions of other people: For many people, the thoughts and expectations of others may cause as much pressure (or more) as their own. However, you cannot control how the people around you view you or your efforts. Instead, resolve to be kind to those around you, regardless of their stated opinions, and make a conscious choice to only hold yourself to your own expectations.

Planning goals instead of making resolutions: As the New Year approaches, people often set “New Year’s resolutions” for themselves that, while indicative of goals they may truly care about, often die out within weeks. An approach that is more likely to succeed involves making a detailed, step-by-step plan for achieving the goal you have in mind, starting small and making incremental progress forward on a set timeline.

If your holiday stress is causing (or stems from) mental health problems, you can schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Clinic by calling (718) 206-5575.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency such as suicidal contemplation, please call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s confidential, 24/7 National Help Line at 1-800-662-4357.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.