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feeling stress during the holidays

Are you feeling stress this holiday season?

During the holidays, we often set impossible standards and place unrealistic demands on ourselves in an attempt to provide and enjoy the perfect season. Rather than enjoy, however, we feel stress about the shopping, the spending, holiday events, and pleasing others. When we are feeling the most overwhelmed, it is a good time to reflect and adopt strategies to use all year long to help us manage these feelings and demands on our time and energy. Here are some tips to help you de-stress:

  1. Prioritize. Decide what is really important. Before the holidays, reflect on your priorities for the season and what you want to happen for you and your family. Decide what really needs to be done and what is just superficial.
  2. Get your sleep. Any disruption in sleep patterns affects our well-being, temperament and ability to deal with daily challenges. Pay attention to your body and go to bed when you are tired. If you are struggling with getting to sleep, incorporate some of these rituals:
    1. Make a priority list in the early evening for the next day so that you don’t have to create the list in your mind during the middle of the night.
    2. Plan a quiet experience at the end of each day with low lights.
    3. Turn off the TV one hour earlier than normal.
    4. Have a hot bath prior to bed.
    5. Listen to soothing music.
    6. Read – if only a page.
    7. Try relaxation tapes, deep-breathing exercises and visualization.
    8. Watch what you eat and drink. Limit sweets and late night eating. Avoid eating large quantities or rich foods after 8:00 p.m. Limit alcohol consumption. After a glass of wine, switch to water. Stay hydrated.
  3. Exercise. Don’t let go of your healthy lifestyle because it’s the holidays. Make sure you get outside for some exercise and fresh air. Try incorporating exercise into your holiday events. Go for a walk to see the lights in Waterloo or Victoria Park.
  4. Learn to say “no” or “yes” to less. For example, you can say, “Yes, I’ll do Christmas, but we’ll do potluck” or “Yes, I’ll have people in, but we’ll have dessert and coffee, not dinner.”
  5. Set a budget. Set financial priorities. Consider drawing names to take the pressure off both your pocketbook and the amount of time you need to dedicate to shopping and wrapping.
  6. Think small. Everything does not have to be big and lavish. Time together is more important than what you do or give. A simple evening with a friend or family decorating the tree, listening to carols, drinking apple cider and watching a holiday movie can bring great joy and meaning to the season.
  7. Don’t over-schedule. Make sure you still have down-time to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.

Carizon offers a group program to help individuals manage stress. “Managing Stress for Managing Moods” begins January 11, 2018 and runs every Thursday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. until March 1, 2018. This group helps participants learn methods to cope more effectively with chronic stress and feelings of depression, anxiety and negative moods, identify and change chronically negative thoughts and beliefs to improve self-esteem, self-care and quality of life. The cost of this group is $200, but based on a sliding fee scale. Please call 519-743-6333 for more information or to register.