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For many people the holiday season is the best time of the year. Having a great time with friends and family members makes this a true celebration. But if your to-do list gets overwhelming, that can sap the happiness out of what should be days filled with laughter and joy.

But for some, the holidays can be filled with stress and worry – feeling like anything but a vacation. Thankfully, if you find yourself struggling around the holidays, there are a lot of things you can do to minimize that stress. Here are just a few ideas you might want to consider.

Enjoy Your Holidays: Avoid Stress Overload With These Simple And Easy Tips

One of the best things you can do for yourself, no matter what time of year it may be, is to exercise. This will not only support your overall health, it can also increase your energy levels. You’ll be ready to take on whatever challenges the holidays can offer.

Exercise can help reduce tension, which may help with any feelings of stress or frustration you may be experiencing. Whether you’re taking a vacation this time of year or you’re knee-deep in holiday to-dos, you should never ignore your regular exercise routine.

Another way to enjoy the holidays more is to clear out some time every day to just relax. Choose an activity that is relaxing to you whether that means taking some deep breaths, reading a book, or spending time with friends and family. Taking as little as five minutes a day to calm down and unwind can do wonders.1

Holiday Wishes At Home: Ways To Manage Stress In Your Home Life

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you might not even be able to enjoy that holiday vacation you’ve been planning. The holidays are meant for creating special memories, and stress can derail things quickly.

stressed woman untangling lights | Activated YouTry to lessen any sources of stress at home. The way you think about something that’s causing stress can have a major impact on how you respond to it.2 See if there’s something you can do to change the situation – or find someone to share whatever responsibilities are causing you to be stressed out.

Talk to friends or family members who you know will listen. Sometimes just talking things out with people who care about you is enough to relieve certain stressors. They might even be able to help you to come up with a solution for taking some things off your plate or handling certain situations.

Another great way to help manage stress is to eat a healthy well-rounded diet. If you experience stress, you might be tempted to comfort yourself with unhealthy foods. Or, you might not want to eat at all. Bad eating habits will only make the situation worse, adding to your stress.3

Stress Management At Work During The Holidays: Find Time To Relax

The holidays can create stress at work as well. You might be trying to work double-time to take care of your responsibilities before you go on vacation. Even if you’re not taking a vacation, you might be working more than normal because you’ll be taking some days off. And working long hours can contribute to more stress.4

prioritize work | Activated YouNo matter the situation, there are a lot of ways to minimize work-related stress.

Carve out a few minutes – or even a couple of hours if necessary – to organize your priorities. No one wishes to be pulled in too many directions at one time. Place your most pressing tasks at the top of your list, and then take care of them as soon as you can. Move the less important projects aside and get to them later.

Structuring your schedule can also help reduce stress. It could be exactly what you need to go on vacation with a clear conscience and a calm mind. Another thing to consider will be minimizing distractions. Steer clear of social media and ignore your inbox as much as possible. Set a specific time for getting through your emails.

Another potential way to reduce stress at work is to be well rested when you get to the office. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. This is always important, but it’s even more critical during the busy holiday season. If you’re always tired, it could make your stress even worse.5

Still Feeling Stressed? Here Are Signs You Might Need To Talk To A Doctor

Are you putting pressure on yourself to get the perfect gifts for your friends and family? Are you trying to clear your workload so you can go on vacation? These and other responsibilities can really increase stress during the holidays. In some cases, it can even put your health at risk.

Be alert to the signs that stress might be getting the better of you, because you may need to get medical help. These signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Trouble making decisions or concentrating
  • A change in eating habits
  • Back or neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Stomach discomfort6

You should also consider seeing a doctor if you are preoccupied with the things that are causing stress, or if you’re suddenly acting withdrawn from family members or friends, or if you’d like additional coping mechanisms for stress.7

Remember The Reason For The Season

family holiday dinner | Activated YouIt’s easy to get so caught up in your responsibilities this time of year that you forget what the season is all about. The holidays are for spreading good wishes to the people you love. It’s a time to relax, whether you go on vacation or spend the holidays at home.

Make sure you take a few steps back and savor the season. Enjoy a fantastic holiday dinner filled with laughter and great conversation. Take the opportunity to check out the holiday lights in your neighborhood. Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home who might be alone this time of year.

Remember the great things about the holiday season, and the chances are, you’ll have a much easier time dealing with whatever stress you might encounter.

Learn More:
The Real Reason You Eat When You’re Stressed
How To Lower Cortisol Levels (Tips To Manage Stress)
Why Am I Always Feeling Tired?