Movies and social media make it seem like holidays are a perfect season filled with fun, love, and laughter. Unfortunately, trying to keep up with this image can lead to stress.
According to the American Psychological Association, nearly half of the women in the U.S struggle with stress during the holiday season, which increases the risk of diseases. Most Canadians also report the holiday season to be the most stressful time of year. And the worst part is, most use food and alcohol to deal with the stress.
HABITS THAT TRIGGER HOLIDAY STRESS
Your holiday season can be more fun and less stressful for you if you avoid the common habits below that trigger holiday stress.
Many of us end up spending more than we would like to during the holidays, and most times we spend our money on things that have a very low emotional return on investment.
Even though every expenditure feels equally important, you have to weed out the ones you’re unhappy with. Restrain from making purchases simply because everyone else is, and make a plan to manage your money during this pricey time of year. You can go further and ask family members to break from expensive holiday traditions.
2. Striving for Perfection
Trying to create the perfect experience for the kids or the entire family can be stressful. Perfect holidays only exist in movies and novels.
Look out for signs of holiday perfection—such as making sure all gifts are handmade, prepping meals the entire day and doing too many things—in order to enjoy the holiday to the fullest.
You can overcome holiday perfection by relaxing your standards and being easy on yourself. It’s possible to have fun even when everything isn’t perfect.
3. Family Arguments
Have you ever vowed not to argue, only to find yourself in the middle of a heated family disagreement? Certain issues always seem to rear their ugly heads, despite our best efforts to avoid them.
With a little self-control, you can avoid engaging in arguments that will leave you feeling miserable. Since you can’t control what others say, plan on how to deal with disagreements when they arise.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
With so much to do during the holiday season, you might fail to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. The unhealthy activities we engage in, such as drinking too much wine or high caffeine intake, also contribute to sleeplessness.
Try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule during the holidays, and avoid eating two hours before bedtime.
5. Skipping Workouts
Exercise eases stress, but most of us slack during the holidays. We spend most of the time eating unhealthy foods and sitting down, which leads to weight gain and low energy levels.
You don’t have to stick to your regular routine during this period, but stay active by engaging in simple exercises like walking and jumping rope.
Unpreparedness usually leads to holiday stress, because you end up overwhelmed by shopping, cooking, activities and visiting friends. Make shopping lists early enough, and assign duties to different people before the D-day.