Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress and Depression

Thanksgiving is here and the countdown to Christmas has already begun (eek, I need to start my shopping!). Yep, it’s the holiday season. A time filled with love and cheer. A chance to celebrate and spend time with the people we love. However the holiday season can also be a source of stress and depression for many people.

Common holiday stressors

There are many reasons why it’s easy to feel extra stress or depression during the holidays. Maybe it’s that you stop caring for yourself during the holidays. Healthy eating, sticking to a budget or setting boundaries for your time go out the window. Or, maybe you become anxious thinking about that family member that you don’t get along with. It’s also probably the easiest time to get sucked into the temptation to compare yourself to others, or focusing on what’s “missing” in your life. All of these choices can lead to anxiety, depression and discontentment.

For me, I struggle with feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the all of the extra items on my to-do list and calendar. I know from experience that if I say yes to everything that comes up and I get lost in my extra to-dos, I feel frustrated and depressed. That’s not how I want to feel during the holidays!

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

Knowing your holiday stressors and taking a few simple steps can help make your holidays a little more merry and bright. If you find yourself struggling with stress and depression* during the holidays, try following some of the tips below to help you to enjoy the holiday season.  

*If you struggle with stress and/or depression, we recommend that you speak to a professional to know what will work best for you.

  1. Shift your focus

Go help someone in need. It’s hard to be depressed when you are helping others.

Take a break from Social Media. Social Media makes it easier than ever to compare yourself to others and become discontent, especially during the holidays. For more information on the dangers of comparing yourself, check out our previous post, “Pumpkins and Social Life”.

Write a list of things you are thankful for.

  1. Continue making healthy choices

-Set the right expectations. Don’t expect a perfect holiday. Expectations need to be realistic. Everything will not always go as planned!

Eat your favorite holiday foods in moderation. It’s okay eat some holiday goodies, but make sure you’re balancing those choices with healthy foods. You’ll feel much better after the holidays.  

– Avoid over-committing yourself.  This time of year is filled with extra activities and commitments. Your calendar can fill up quickly, leaving you feeling tired and burnt out. It’s ok to say “no” to things.

Set a holiday budget and stick to it. Most people need to set a budget for holiday spending. Purchasing more than you can afford on credit cards can become a challenge after the holidays.  If you can’t afford to buy for every person on your list, consider making homemade gifts. Or, you can suggest a gift exchange.

  1. Make good choices in your relationships

Forgive and move forward. Use the holidays as a chance to work towards forgiving others in your life.

-Avoid engaging conflict at family holiday gatherings. Though there are times to discuss our differences, most likely holiday family gatherings are not the best place.

At Live Wellness Center, we wish you and your family a joyous holiday season. I invite you to join me in taking steps to help make sure the holidays are great this year!  

  • Charity Ritter LISW-S

For information on counseling at Live Wellness Center, please visit our page on counseling.


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This article should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any condition or illness. At no time is a professional relationship established with anyone by reading this article. Live Wellness Center has a team of caring professional therapists to help you find restoration, mental health and overall wellness. Call us for an appointment at 614-437- 9910.