Suggestions for Reducing Holiday Stress
Here are some suggestions for REDUCING HOLIDAY STRESS this year from the counseling center at NJIT.
- Get the members of your household to make a list of holiday expectations (i.e., what they want to see, do, feel, experience). Share your lists and discuss.
- Less is more. Get everyone to cut their seeing and doing lists (see above) in half. This - in itself - will help guarantee "a relaxing old-fashioned holiday."
- Make "things-to-do" lists to keep you organized.
- Get enough sleep. Fatigue can lead to stress, overeating, alcohol abuse, and numerous family problems.
- Let go of family traditions that are too much work - or simplify them (e.g., after the decorating, spread a checked cloth on the floor and have a picnic; forget the traditional five-course meal).
- Avoid family tug-of-wars. Ideas:
a. Spend one holiday with one set of relatives, and the other holiday with another set (alternative years), or
b. Choose a day before each holiday to celebrate with relatives - and spend the actual holidays at your own home, enjoying your own traditions.
- Consider extending holiday get-togethers through the first two weeks on January, rather than shoehorning everything into December.
- Do something special for people you don't know. Call your local shelter or nursing home to see how you can help. (Helping the less fortunate can help you put your own problems into perspective.)
- If you live alone, or are recently divorced or widowed, make special plans (e.g., holiday vacation) so you won't feel lonely or isolated.
- Plan a post-holiday activity that everyone can look forward to.
- Get at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day to reduce stress, take the edge off your appetite, and help prevent winter blues.
- Try to get outside in day light for at least one hour a day to help relieve "winter blues."
The Counseling Center, NJIT