Every family has its very own holiday traditions. When discussed with others, people sometimes envision the fixture of a Normal Rockwell painting with a glowing, happy family seated at a dinner table next to a roaring fire smiling and laughing joyously.
80% Report Being Stressed Out
Or, do the holiday traditions with your family trigger stress, anxiety, anger, fear, regret, and concern? Well, you are not alone. In fact, in 2008 the American Psychological Association conducted a poll and found that 8 out of every 10 Americans anticipated stress during the holidays.
Stress Relief Tips
The foremost leaders in medical care at the Mayo Clinic offer some great advice on how to best cope with holiday stress:
- Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
- Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
This might sound obvious; however, laughter has long been thought to be the absolute best treatment of all for stress. With this tradition in mind the team at Dental Specialists of Niles, P.C. recommends a heavy dose of the legend Rodney Dangerfield in this YouTube video below. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!