Managing Your Holiday Stress

by Mackenzie Stasko on December 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Between traveling, holiday celebrations and picking out the right present, the holiday’s aren’t always the most wonderful time of year. While some people look forward to the holiday’s, others simply try and cope with the stress of it all.

"It’s the extra shopping, it’s the food preparation, its the grocery shopping, it’s just a lot of money is going out in a short period of time," said Kelly Riley of the stresses the holiday’s bring.

"The shopping for one, the stores are pretty crowded, also trying to find the perfect gift for someone," said Amber Bunfill.

Dan Briner explained, "Just trying to get everything finished up, the wrapping, the buying of the gifts and then traveling out of town to see family."

Ohio University-Zanesville professor Kathy Normansell, says the stress that comes along with the holiday’s is usually self imposed and can be easily avoided.

"Almost every lecture I give, ‘Do I choose to be stressed?’ And the beginning people say, ‘of course not, who would choose to be stressed?’ But when we sit down and look at it, we subconsciously make those choices. ‘Why didn’t I say no? Well by not saying no to something, I got myself into that one extra thing that put me over the limit’ So I chose in a sense, that stress." 

She says another stressor is that too many people have unrealistic expectations.

"What makes it unique from other stress is we somehow think that the holiday’s are gonna be perfect, they’re gonna be like what we see on the Hallmark TV, we have that magic we create. So we set ourselves up for something that is really unattainable and then we’re disappointed when it doesn’t happen."

If you’re worried about family tension, just avoid it. If you’re traveling, make sure you plan ahead and prioritize the events that are most important to you. And if you’re stressed out about over spending, Normansell suggests buying gifts that the entire family can enjoy.

"Everybody’s gotta have the same number of gifts or spending the same amount of money, some of that can be eliminated if you look for one or two small items for each individual or one item that everybody can do together."

She suggests setting aside 10 or 15 minutes for yourself to unwind and decompress from it all.

"It may be putting on music, a lot of people it’s getting in a car and driving and just being by themselves, being in control of where they go, what they do and what they listen to. It could be turning down the lights and just enjoying the Christmas tree in the quiet, it could be going out and taking a walk."

Above all, you should figure out what’s most important to you and your family and avoid overbooking your schedule.

"I think it’s just avoiding the too’s, t-o-o, too much food, too much alcohol, too much partying, too much stress, too much money and keeping a balance."