The top 10 ways to deal with holiday stress

For many, the holidays are a joyful time filled with colourful twinkling lights, quality time with family and friends, and delicious food. But for some, this time of year creates or emphasizes depressive or anxious feelings. From the pressure of finding the perfect gift, tension between family, and financial strain to extra temptations to those who are battling eating disorders or addiction, the holiday season can quickly become an incredibly stressful time.
This holiday season, Calgary Counselling Centre encourages everyone to take care of their emotional well-being by following these 10 simple tips to find balance during this stressful time of year.

  1. Plan ahead: With competing priorities such as work deadlines, family plans and holiday activities it is easy to become burnt out. We recommend using a calendar to keep track of everything you need to do. Organizing your thoughts into lists is also a good way of outlining and prioritizing certain tasks such as gift shopping and meal planning. It is also important to not be afraid to delegate tasks or ask for help from family or friends if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Spend within your means: Especially with the current state of the economy it is important to not over-spend this holiday season. Decide on a budget that feels comfortable to you and try to stick to it. If you are feeling pressured to buy presents for several people, suggest a Secret Santa gift or cookie exchange instead.
  3. Maintain perspective: If finances limit your spending this holiday season, remember that you don’t need extravagant gifts or huge festivities to show your love. You just need to be there, to listen and to share the moment.
  4. Acknowledge your feelings: If you are feeling overwhelmed or upset, take a moment to acknowledge and express your emotions and tell yourself it is OK. If you have recently lost someone, or cannot be with your loved ones with this holiday, know that it is normal to feel sadness or grief.
  5. Be realistic: It is important to acknowledge that this holiday season may not be like the previous year. As families grow and change, traditions may change as well, but be open to accepting new traditions. If you cannot be with your loved ones face-to-face, consider sharing stories and pictures through email or video.
  6. Stay connected: Keep in contact with family and friends. Social support is vital to managing stress. Sometimes chatting with a friend or loved one can take your mind off of stress, allow you to relax and remind yourself it will be okay. You may even realize they are experiencing the same feelings as you, allowing you to have someone to share your feelings to.
  7. Take time for yourself: During the holidays, we are often so focused on the needs and wants of others we forget about our own. It’s important to give yourself a break during the holidays and make time to do something you enjoy every day.
  8. Don’t overindulge: It’s often difficult to say no to the tasty food and drinks during the holidays, but try to choose the items you can’t live without and enjoy them in moderation.
  9. Maintain healthy habits: Keep up with a healthy exercise routine, get plenty of sleep (eight hours per night) and choose healthy snacks when possible.
  10. Reach out: If you feel lonely or isolated, participate in events offered around your community. Volunteering is another great way to make connections with new people, lift your spirits and give back.

While these tips are a great way to ensure your emotional and physical well-being this holiday season, it’s important to remember that if you need us, Calgary Counselling Centre is always here to help with no waitlist, a sliding fee scale based on income, and barrier-free access to counselling for all Calgarians.

Register for counselling today or call us at 403-691-5991.

Calgary Counselling Centre Holiday Hours:

Calgary Counselling Centre employees and students are taking some much deserved time with family and friends this holiday season. The Centre will be closed starting December 24 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.
Friday, December 23: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 24 – Saturday, December 31, 2016: CLOSED

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