Dealing with Layers of Stress During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it’s common for us to become highly stressed with all of the commotion that comes along with festive celebrations. We can often feel overwhelmed because everything seems to be happening so rapidly. We can lose a sense of control we have maintained over our lives. Exams are occuring, the semester is finalizing, and on top of all the school work that needs to be done, we somehow have to prepare ourselves for these intimate gatherings that often occur around the busiest time of the year. How ever can we manage all of this while maintaining our composure and trying to enjoy the festivities?


Bringing family together is a blessing, but with all of these personalities joining in one space, celebrations can easily become highly hectic experiences. Family gatherings can bring out the best and the worst for people, depending on the dynamics within the family. Bigger families and larger gatherings can bring about more chaotic circumstances, and it may be hard to prepare for what may occur during these events.


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Not only must we prepare ourselves for being around so many people, but we may also feel inclined to prepare special presents for those we care about. This can usually cost quite a bit of money. The stresses of spending so much with the excuse that we’re showing those around us how much we care about them can bombard our savings account. Being a student, we may not even have that much extra spending money to afford to splurge, regardless of the expectations around gift-giving. Financial burdens often occur during this time of year and these burdens can deepen the effect of our stressors.


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On their own, these stressors may seem minor. How can buying a present be considered that overwhelming? Well, when you combine the stress of navigating malls around this time of year, with the additional pressures of completing last minute assignments and studying intensely for finals while simultaneously trying to get things in order for upcoming celebrations, there is really no wonder why we feel a lot of internal tension to make sure everything works out perfectly.


One way to release some of this stress that most frequently occurs during the holiday season is first and foremost to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. Whether that be having a nice cup of tea before going to bed, or having a little yoga practice in the morning to prepare ourselves for the day ahead, self-care is essential for us to keep a sense of control over ourselves and our external situation.


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Additional strategies for dealing with stress include taking things one moment at a time. This involves maintaining a sense of mindfulness over our actions and setting realistic goals about what we can achieve in a day. We can remain in control by managing our time effectively and preparing well ahead of time so that we feel less bombarded by all of the tasks that require our energy all at once.


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One of the most important factors to consider for managing these holiday stressors is to try and enjoy this season as much as we possibly can. The holidays can bring an ample amount of joy into our lives if we let it. Appreciating what we have already instead of focusing solely on what we want is a great technique for de-stressing. Feeling grateful for having this opportunity to enjoy sharing time with those we love, and acknowledging the gift of life and love will keep us grounded during the chaotic experience of holiday festivities.