Why is the holiday season so stressful?

Stress in its basic definition is our mind and body’s response to pressing demands on our lives, whether this is mental or physical. Hormones from our brains flood our system, and act as messengers telling our body how to react to the situation at hand. Your mind reacts in a similar way from a threatening rattlesnake to your boss asking you to complete a big task by the end of day. Your body takes in this demand and the stress hormones keep us alert and focused to meet the need, whether that is avoiding snakes or completing a job.

The winter-holiday season is a busy time. Additional shopping, extra traffic, travel plans, family conflicts, and more. All of these stressors can weigh on you, and are likely why so many people experience their worst moods during this time. Winter weather also brings out Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which compounds on top of holiday stress.

There are steps you can take to make the season a little easier on your mental health. Reduce some of the anxietities out of your festivities with these tips.

Set a budget and stick to it

One important step in reducing your stress is setting boundaries, including on your wallet. Buying your friends and family great gifts is enjoyable, but you still need to provide for yourself after the holidays end. Set yourself a total budget for what you’ll spend on all Christmas gifts, and stick to it. If you plan on hosting, set a budget for food and meals. If you’re finding it difficult to keep to your budget on presents, try looking into homemade gift ideas.

Don’t say yes to everything

You may be invited to more parties than you can attend. You may have two different family events happening at the same time. It’s incredibly tempting to want to be present at every function and see every person you care, but trying to cram too much travel and plans into your days can cause a lot of stress. Learn to accept a little imperfection in your holiday and don’t say yes to everyone. There’s always next year.

Remember healthy habits

Lots of sugar, less sleep than normal, and no exercise during the holiday season each contribute to anxiety and depressed feelings. Inevitably, there will be sugary treats tempting you wherever you go, but your body will thank you for keeping your sugar intake to normal levels. Getting proper sleep and getting healthy greens helps reduce anxiety and keeps you feeling strong. Going for small walks or fitting a little exercise into your day will release endorphins and boost your energy.

Reach out or give back

If you’re feeling lonely or isolated during this time, that’s when it’s the most important to reach out and find support. Many people find themselves with internal expectations to be merry during the holiday season, and the disparity between that pressure and their true feelings can make them feel worse. Finding a community who can be with you during these difficult times can be all the difference. If you’re struggling to find your group, try volunteering at a soup kitchen or charity function to be around people. Just being out and doing something is better than being alone with time to think

We Hope You Have a Great Holiday

No matter what happens this holiday, United Financial hopes you can get through the season in good health and spirits. If finances are another source of your stress, try reading this blog on How to Control Your Finances this Holiday Season.