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Identifying holiday stressors

By Georgina Lavan

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Source: Pinterest

The holiday season is meant to be a time to relax and unwind from the year we’ve had, but many of us end up running around completing errands or trying to catch up with loved ones. Add in the high expectations of how we spend our time off with family and friends, and this can lead to stress and even the holiday blues. It’s important to identify what areas are likely to cause you stress and work on strategies to avoid scenarios that may leave you cranky, demanding of others and even at times, depressed. Here are just some areas of stress to look at working on:

  • Unhappy memories

The holidays can be a provoking time for unhappy memories. Whether they are Christmas memories or memories in general, this time of year can bring up what’s missing in a person’s life, particularly in children. Whether it’s an absent family member, splitting your time between divorced parents, or a change in financial circumstances, the point is to make the most of your Christmas celebrations with family and friends. Take the opportunity to sit down and talk to your loved ones about what is to come this Christmas so they are prepared for the changes they will encounter on the day.

  • Spending time with unpleasant relatives

Not everyone gets along at family socials, which can create tension and set the mood for the day for all. To minimise the likelihood of catastrophe between relatives, outline your expectations for the day to those involved so they know of the consequences should anything stir between said parties. Another easy way to avoid conflict is to plan a sit down meal and seat them at opposite ends of the table to minimise interaction.

  • What’s changed or stayed the same in the last year

Christmas acts as a yearly milestone for families, and highlights what has gone on in the last year. Some families lose loved ones, go through health issues, divorces/relationship breakdowns, or have downsized their home due to children moving out. Others are waiting another year for their family members to return from active service, or are just over the same old routine of the same Christmas menu each year. Create some variety over the holidays, whether it’s taking turns hosting Christmas, going travelling to somewhere new or volunteering your time to help others.

  • Holiday illnesses

How often do we finally take some time off to find that we’re so run down and fall ill to colds and flu? Now factor in your kids on school holidays, prepping for Christmas Day meals and last minute Christmas shopping and it all becomes very stressful. Know when to ask for help so that you don’t run yourself further into the ground, whether it is from family with meal prepping or babysitting or ordering gifts online and having them delivered to beat the shopping centre crowds.

  • Don’t over-schedule yourself

Avoid overbooking your break with catching up with all your family and friends. Driving during holiday periods (and double demerit season) can be one of the biggest battles during the break. You’ll also be exhausted from pleasing everybody and need a holiday from your holiday. If you feel the need to catch up with as many people as possible, send out a message to family and friends letting them know you’ll be at the beach/park for the day and anyone is welcome to join.

  • Keep things in perspective

The beauty of Christmas is that it comes around once a year, and whilst we hope to have a perfect day with family and friends, it doesn’t always go according to plan. Think – what’s the worst thing that could happen during the holidays? Know that there’s always next year to make up for anything you didn’t get to do this year.

  • Treat yourself

It’s your time off too, so be sure to point out to others when you want a time out – whether it be an hour, a day or a week. We don’t work all year to have two weeks off at Christmas and do what everyone else wants. Speak up!

If you experience stress over the holiday break, why not contact us to book a one-off Holiday appointment at BodyMatters.

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