It’s the most wonderful time of the year, they said. All your troubles will be out of sight, they said. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel fa-la-la-la-lethargic. In reality, the over-commercialized holiday season has become a point of stress for most of us. Whether it is the stress of shopping in an overcrowded mall in an attempt to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones, feeling overwhelmed by all the holiday festivities you are required to attend, or because the year is coming to a close and you didn’t accomplish what you hoped, the pressure of the holidays can get to all of us in a number of different ways.

The truth of the matter is we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves and are spreading ourselves thin in an attempt to spread holiday cheer, although “thin” isn’t exactly how we’re feeling after all the overeating we do at our holiday festivities. The list of stressors goes on and on, but what we really want to know is how do we cope with the stress and anxiety associated with the holiday blues?

The best offense is a good defense

When it comes to managing holiday stress it is best to go into the season with a game plan. Be sure to budget not only your money, but your time.

Shopping

There are a number of ways to cut down on shopping stress. When it comes to spending money, it is always wise to make a budget. Figure out who you are buying gifts for this season and how much money you are looking to spend on each person. Try not to beat yourself up if you go a little over budget, after all, ‘tis the season.

It can be overwhelming shopping in an overcrowded mall. Online shopping can be a good remedy for this stress. Who wouldn’t prefer to knock out the bulk of their shopping from the comfort of their own home? It can be less time consuming and allows you to the opportunity to multi-task.

Suggest organizing a Secret Santa or Grab Bag with your friends to help cut back on spending.

Festivities

Holiday parties can be fun and festive with good eats and drinks, but sometimes during the holiday season the number of parties we are required to attend can be overwhelming. Remember, it is okay to say no sometimes. Chances are you are not the only one feeling the heat because of the number of festivities you have on your plate.

If you think attending parties are stressful, imagine hosting one. The host is a stressful task no matter the time of year, which is why recruiting close friends and family to help with the planning, shopping, set up and management of the party is crucial. Never be a afraid to ask for help as delegating responsibilities will do wonders for decreasing stress.

Family

‘Tis the season for families to come together in celebration with peace, love, and harmony. However, not all families are the Brady Bunch. No one knows how to get under your skin like family. Whether it be frustration from pointed comments or lingering tension with another family member, keeping your composure is the best and sometimes only way to cope. Despite the anxieties you may be feeling from a family reunion, there is a time and place for these things to be discussed and it is not over a Thanksgiving turkey. Family is family and nobody is perfect. It is much easier to keep an open mind and heart and accept people for who they are, especially during this time of year.

Happy New Year?

Another year is coming to a close and maybe you have not accomplished what you  hoped. Perhaps you didn’t reach your weight loss goal, or maybe you didn’t get the promotion you wanted or your love life is lacking. Life is not as neatly packaged as the presents we wrap at this time of year and it doesn’t always go according to schedule. Remember that you are only human and it is unhealthy to put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect and have a perfect holiday season. Life isn’t perfect. Adapt. A new you year is upon us, so regroup, reframe, and do your best.

Good luck this holiday season keeping your stress levels down. It is important not only for your sanity but for your body and overall wellbeing. Happy Holidays!