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7 Strategies to Help Your Family Combat Holiday Stress

7 Strategies to Help Your Family Combat Holiday Stress

This is the time of the year when we should be having fun with our family and friends, but the truth is that the holidays can be very stressful for many of us. They present a series of demands that include shopping, entertaining, parties, and lots more. Because we tend to set high expectations for the holiday season, it is not surprising that most of us experience some holiday stress.

What causes holiday stress?

For many of us, most of our holiday stress results from interacting with our family. This might be caused by sad memories of past holiday seasons.  It might be caused by the changes that have occurred in the life of another family member, or by the changes that haven’t occurred in ours.  It might simply be caused by having to suffer through the same family gatherings, with the same people, and the same food.

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No matter what is causing your holiday stress, these 7 strategies can help you deal with your stress, and may even help make your family get-togethers fun again.

1. Acknowledge your feelings.

If you have lost a family member this year, the holidays can bring back feelings of sadness and loss.  Understand the fact that it’s okay to feel sad, and be willing to express your feelings to other family members. Sharing stories of the good times that you spent with a lost family member can help the whole family feel better.

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2. Set realistic expectations.

Speak to your children regarding holiday activities and their expectations for gifts. Holiday stress can be minimized by taking action to make sure everyone has the same goals and expectations for the holiday season. While you should never expect your family holidays to be perfect, you can minimize stress by making sure that the whole family has the same expectations.

3. Do something different.

If your normal family get-together is the source of your stress, try something different. If you’re overwhelmed with being the host, ask another family member to help out. You might even want to plan the family holiday dinner at a local restaurant instead of your home. Trying something new and different can reduce or eliminate your stress.

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4. Don’t expect miracles.

If your holiday stress comes from a history of family conflict, you shouldn’t expect any miracles during the holiday season. You probably will not see a huge break-through in ongoing conflicts, but you can focus on how you can react in positive ways when the conflict happens.

5. Just say no.

Saying yes when you know that you should be saying no can create feelings of resentment and overwhelm. Be honest with your friends and family, and help them to understand that you cannot participate in every event. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t say no to a family event, look for other activities that you can remove from you schedule to minimize your stress.

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6. Set differences aside.

Accept your relatives for who they are, even if they don’t meet your expectations. Save grievances for a more suitable time, and be understanding if others get frustrated and angry. They are probably experiencing the effects of holiday stress too.

7. Prepare a budget.

Decide the amount you can afford to spend prior to food and gift shopping. Do not be forced to spend more than what you can afford. Follow your budget as much as possible and remember that happiness can never be bought with gifts.

I wish that I could help you to eliminate all of your holiday stress, but I can’t!  However, you can minimize it by employing these 7 proven strategies.

Featured photo credit: kakisky via cdn.morguefile.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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