Making the Best of this Holiday Season

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us may be thinking about festivities and social gatherings where we get to spend time with those we care about most.  The holidays can bring great fun but as many have experienced, it can sometimes bring great stress as well. So how do we keep the season joyful while minimizing stress and anxiety?  Below are a few useful tips:

  • Staying realistic: It is easy to make comparisons with holidays past and feel like this year won’t measure up.  I encourage you to enjoy this holiday season for what it is and realize that each year will be a little different. Being realistic about things like our finances and time help us avoid overextending ourselves or our resources.

  • Limit alcohol use:  Alcohol can bring temporary relief from stressful feelings but overindulging can complicate problems and actually increase these feelings of stress or anxiety in the long run.  Alcohol is available at many holiday gatherings so setting a limit ahead of time can help us avoid overindulgence and embarrassment. 

  • Healthy physical activity: The holidays can certainly get busy but be sure to leave time for exercise and physical activity. Not only does exercise help us fight stress but it also helps us avoid packing on the pounds from all the delicious foods we might enjoy this time of year.

  • Set aside personal differences:  What do nearly all holiday gatherings have in common? Socializing with friends, family, or coworkers some of who we don’t always agree or get along with. Focusing on positive interaction helps us simply enjoy the gathering and avoid conflict or bringing up issues that are better resolved at another time.

  • Rely on your supports: Figure out some of the folks from your support network that you can lean on if holiday stress begins to build up. Supports not only lift us up emotionally but can help us shoulder some of the responsibilities we take on during the holiday season. You might also consider volunteering or giving of your time to others if time allows. Helping others can bring a surprising amount of joy and lead to some wonderful holiday memories you won’t soon forget.

However you spend your time this holiday season, be sure to take care of yourself and rely on healthy ways to manage stress.  Poor coping mechanisms like overindulgence in alcohol take away from the holiday experience and in the long run might even leave with you problems that last well beyond the holidays.  I personally hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!  

For additional resources and supports contact the Alcohol Abuse Prevention Specialist at (252) 466-8413.