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Navigating Holiday Stress

The holiday season can often be a source of stress, with increased financial pressures, family tensions, and unrealistic expectations overshadowing the joyous spirit. And for those with anxiety, this time of year can be especially overwhelming. But you don’t have to navigate holiday stress alone. New Directions Mental Health’s anxiety treatment services are designed to provide support and guidance during this challenging time.

With a focus on trust and expertise, our team of compassionate professionals is here to help you manage your anxiety in a way that works for you. Through individualized care, we will work with you to develop coping strategies and techniques that allow you to fully participate in the holiday season. Don’t wait to get the help and support you or a loved one needs—call us today at 724.374.7414 to explore our mental health treatment options.

Tips on Navigating Holiday Stress

How do we get back to the real purpose behind your holiday season? How do we change this perception? Read our tips below:

1. Reduce Guilt and Resentment

Setting clear boundaries and using concise communication is the key to many situations. The holidays are no different. Instead of generally asking how you can help and getting roped into hosting, offer what you’re comfortable with taking on. “I can bring a pie or a side dish, which would help?” This question creates more control of the response rather than leaving your vague offer open to interpretation. It, in turn, ensures the management of your mood through more explicit boundaries.

Boundaries also can be an act of self-preservation. If you continue to dread your drive to a relative’s house two hours away and would love nothing more than to stay close to home, then you can do that. Plan for a more personal interaction with your relative in the coming weeks. One-on-one time may appeal to both of you. Be sure to express your needs rather than asking for permission. “I need a simple holiday this year, Grandma, so I am going to stay home.” This is more effective than setting the stage for a guilt trip or your own resentment. Ensure that you are listening to your needs and setting your boundaries accordingly.

2. Budget Your Money and Your Emotions

One of the biggest holiday stress concerns is the financial strain that it can quickly place on you. The rising cost of, well, everything creates tension. Learn to set limits with your money. You can choose to obligate yourself financially. You can choose to accrue bills that will lead to struggle for months on end. Or you can choose to control the situation.

As an adult, clothes, toys, and games don’t stand out as much as the time spent or relationships built during childhood. Make a budget for your holiday spending, being sure to follow this closely. If you finish the holiday shopping, think, “I haven’t done enough,” and begin to feel guilty, consider your emotional budget. Are you equating money or gifts to love? Instead, strategize ways you can invest in your loved ones, like spending more quality time with them rather than adding more gifts received.

3. Ground Your Grief and Loss Stress

Two shared factors every human is guaranteed to experience are grief and loss. It is one of the most challenging factors of life and even harder to communicate about. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the dissolution of a marriage, or even the physical loss of a loved one, all affect our daily functioning and are typically compounded around the holidays.

The cycle of grief is very fluid, and that is especially true around the holidays. Perhaps you were coping with and feeling more accepting of the loss, but the reminder to downsize your holidays due to job loss or divorce can send you backward. Phases like bargaining, depression, anger, or denial due to grief and loss restart without your permission. Perhaps you had been thriving, even without your loved one, but the idea of an empty seat at the dinner table drudges up a feeling of overwhelming sadness and grief.

Continue to ground yourself in the moment. You are being mindful of your emotions, compassionate to yourself, and taking time and space to honor those feelings. The holiday party can wait, and the wrapping can happen tomorrow, but your emotions need your immediate and undivided attention. You deserve to do that for yourself.

With loss, take time to honor your loved one and your relationship with them. Whether through action or thought, this does not need to be a grand display. Simply recalling your favorite memories, talking to someone else about their impact on your life, or sharing your tears is often helpful. Taking time to cry or sit with deep breaths to re-center yourself cannot be emphasized enough. These are biologically driven and emotionally necessary.

4. Putting Thought to Action

Something is awry if you have lost the excitement of the holidays or the purpose behind your cultural or religious celebrations. Take some time now to reflect, problem-solve, and begin to set the foundation for a more enjoyable holiday season.

Whether through writing down your thoughts, talking them over with a spouse or family member, or simply placing attention and focus on your feelings concerning the holiday season, make a concerted effort. When you start to think about change, action often follows, and this will lead to more control and more enjoyment to be had.

How Can Stress Management Help During the Holiday Season?

Effective stress management plays a crucial role in navigating the holiday season. It helps you maintain control, reduces the physical and emotional toll of stress, and enables you to enjoy the season’s festivities fully. Here’s how:

  • Promotes mental and physical well-being
  • Encourages mindfulness
  • Improves relationships
  • Aids in balance
  • Enhances resilience

In stress management, you can learn to identify triggers and develop coping strategies to deal with them. With the proper tools and resources, you can control stress better and have a more enjoyable holiday season. By taking care of your mental health and reducing stress, you can make meaningful connections during this time, focus on what matters most, and feel more in control during stressful situations.

Call New Directions Mental Health for Help Navigating Holiday Stress and Your Mental Health

At New Directions Mental Health, we understand how challenging the holiday season can be, especially if you are dealing with anxiety and stress. That is why we offer specialized anxiety treatment services to support and guide you during this time. Our compassionate mental health professionals will work with you to develop personalized strategies that allow you to participate fully in the holiday season without feeling overwhelmed.

Don’t let holiday stress take over your life. Call us today at 724.374.7414 to learn more about our mental health treatment options and how we can help you navigate holiday stress in a healthy way. For new clients, you can contact us online to schedule an appointment. For existing clients, please find your office location to contact your office directly.