The holidays can be a joyful time to gather with friends and family, but they can also be a stressful time for us. This time of year is a whirlwind of emotions that can have a way of magnifying the stressors we already carry around with us. Financial burdensfamily gatheringsunrealistic expectations, and deadlines are just a few of the stressors. 

Here are a couple of tips to help you get by:  

Financial Stress  

  • Organization. Let’s start by looking at our budget. Although this can cause some anxiety, remember this is short term. Our goal is to avoid those large credit card bills that will only bring stress for months to come.   
  • Gifts. Remember, we have a budget. Do not stress yourself trying to find ways to buy everyone a gift. A Holiday greeting card goes a long way.  
  • Remember what’s important. Let’s focus on what the holidays mean to us. The holidays can be overshadowed by a constant force that we should keep buying more. The relationships you have built with your friends and family are what matter the most.     

 

Family gatherings  

  • Mindfulness. Family gatherings bring up some unwanted conversations. Keeping this in mind, let’s remember to be mindful of our tone when an uncomfortable conversation is brought up. Taking a step back from triggering conversations is the best practice. Take a couple of deep breaths and, if possible, try to change the topic.    
  • Agree to disagree. Remember, you will not always agree with others and that is okay.  

 

  Expectations  

  • Exerting ourselves. The holidays can make us forget to take a step back and take time for ourselves. Running around shopping, making time for relatives from out of town, and seeing old friends are a few examples of the things we push ourselves to do in a matter of days. Figure out what helps you unwind and take time to do it. You can not bring holiday cheer to others when you have none left to give.  
  • Ask for support. Remember you are not alone. The holidays are stressful and if you find yourself overwhelmed, talk to someone. Your support system will help you get through this. Reach out, you are not alone on this journey.   

About the author: Victoria Palafox, MS, LPC

Victoria Palafox is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor. She has worked with military children, adolescents, and their families in a multitude of settings.  
 

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