Dealing With Early Holiday Stress
"How is it November already?" "Christmas is basically tomorrow!" If you aren’t yet in the right mindset for the holidays, then you might be in for a stressful six weeks. Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, and the New Year are generally times of cheer and family and goodwill but unfortunately, the season as a whole is also a time of stress, frustration, and panic. For many, this is far from "the most wonderful time of the year," and many are even starting to turn to "no-gift Christmases" to compensate. Dealing with early holiday stress can be a serious challenge to overcome -- especially if you aren't very good at picking out gifts (which is perfectly normal).
A surprising number of people think of holiday stress as just another unavoidable fact of life; like tests in school or scheduled reviews at work, the holiday weeks are “just stressful.” Usually, there’s more to it than that. Holiday stress and anxieties can arise from a multitude of factors, ranging from the food we eat to the company we keep (or don’t keep), to anxieties associated with buying and giving gifts (and, speaking of which, we’ve got a great gift idea for you right here). Even the shorter days can have an impact on creating and maintaining holiday stress.
In short, it isn’t just you; the holidays can be a difficult time for a lot of people, and for a lot of different reasons.
Be Ready for The Stress
"Generally speaking, the best ways to keep one's head over the next couple of months are to stay as organized as possible, and to set realistic expectations."
The good news is that Christmas is not next week, and there actually is a lot of time left to take control of stressors, manage expectations, and organize the coming holiday into an enjoyable season. Organization, prioritization, and an early start are all great ways to keep ahead of stressors before they become problems. Being able to identify those stressors in advance is another very good thing to be doing; is gift-giving your biggest source of anxiety? If so, then maybe that’s something you’ll want to start thinking about now. Keep an eye out for interesting or fun items online or in local stores, and start listening to those you want to shop for to catch hints for gift ideas. Head out to a shopping centre now, when coming home empty-handed wouldn’t be a cause for alarm.
Generally speaking, the best ways to keep one's head over the next couple of months are to stay as organized as possible, and to set realistic expectations for how the next several weeks are going to go. For example:
- "The weeks spanning Christmas and New Year’s Day are going to be hectic."
- "One week before Christmas Day, there will probably be at least one person for whom I’ve not yet found a gift."
- "In that seven-day week, I am going to have familial obligations for at least four days."
- "It is not going to be perfect; it is going to be stressful. Buying into the idea that everything needs to be perfect is the most likely thing to ruin the holiday for me."
For a lot of people, managing the holiday stress simply means catching a few minutes of peace and quiet here and there, to reorganize and refocus the mind. Try wearing the eSmartr sleeve during those moments. This is an often hectic, chaotic season, and a boost to your capacity for mindfulness might be exactly what you need to make it through smiling.