Putting the "Merry Back in the Holidays"

The “most wonderful time of the year” should be spent going to social gatherings with family and friends, cooking and shopping, right? For some, the holidays may not be so merry and bright due to stress. Between holiday shopping, heavy traffic and pressing remembrances, many people can feel blue during the holiday season – luckily, there are a few ways to lift your spirits. Consider these holiday stress-busting tips to make things a little merrier.

Set a Budget

Since overspending is a huge stressor, set and stick to a budget.

Shopping/Planning Ahead

Shop during off-peak hours to make your shopping experience as stress-free as possible. Consider online shopping to avoid long lines and finding a parking spot. And, if you do find yourself caught in mall traffic, take a deep breath and listen to some relaxing music.

Just Say No

During the season of giving, you sometimes need to just say “no.” Everyone has a lot on their plates this time of year with sending cards, shopping, entertaining and more! Remind yourself not to over commit. Running yourself ragged by always trying to take on one more task can take a toll on your well-being, particularly your stress level.

Stay Healthy

Take care of yourself and take the right steps to stay healthy during the busiest time of the year. Eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Before going to holiday parties, grab a healthy snack so you don’t abandon healthy habits and overeat.

Take a Breather

Carve out some “me” time! Take a walk, listen to soothing music or read a book. Just 15 minutes may be enough to refresh and recharge.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

Holidays can be especially tough after the loss of a loved one. Realize that it’s completely normal to feel sadness and grief.

Be Thankful of What you Have

Most importantly, no matter what is happening in your life, think of the blessings you do have. Taking a moment to think of the positives can put an end to the “bah humbug” blues.

At the end of the day, relax and go with the flow - don’t let holiday stress turn a jolly season to an extremely stressful one.

If stress and anxiety are long-lasting and begin to impact your mood, relationships and health, you may want to consider reaching out to a mental health professional for assistance. For a referral to an RWJBarnabas Health behavioral health specialists, call 1-800-300-0628.