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The holidays are supposed to be a cheerful time when you get to spend quality time with your friends and family. But everyone knows that isn’t always the case. You have to rush to get everything ready for when the family visits, you have to take care of all your school and work duties before the holidays, and you may even have to deal with a few people you don’t want to see. All this workload can really stress you out.

If that describes you, you’re not the alone as these holiday stress statistics speak volumes about how many people feel during the holidays. In a poll run by the American Psychological Association, 69 percent felt stressed due to time constraints, 69 percent were stressed due to financial concerns, and 51 percent were stressed due to the pressure of having to get gifts.

1. Be Realistic

You can prevent holiday stress and depression by coming back down to reality. You have to acknowledge that not everything is going to go perfectly. You have to realize that not everyone will get along. And you most certainly have to remember that you’re going to make a couple of mistakes. Setting high expectations will only leave you disappointed, especially if they’re expectations you don’t have control over. Instead, try to do the best you can and make the most out of what you got. The holidays are about getting together with your loved ones and celebrating, not about fulfilling some agenda.

2. Have Tools to Relieve Stress

You’re going to have to deal with the stress sooner or later. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that you have the tools to deal with the stress. You can do anything from listening to music, exercising, to meditating to relieve your stress. The key is to prevent the stress from building up to a boiling point in the first place. Just make sure you’re aware of the tools that you have and use them when you need them rather than “later.”

3. Stay Organized

Whether you’re a mom or a college student, you’re going to have a lot on your plate. In order to get things done and stay on track with your goals and duties, you need to stay organized. Organization tools like sticky notes, planners, and smartphone apps will go a long way in helping you stay on track. If you’re a college student struggling to get everything done before the break, a giant dorm room calendar will be a helpful reminder for helping you stay focused on what you need to do, keeping track of deadlines, and scheduling your day to day tasks.

4. Focus on a Healthy Diet

Holiday stress eating is something that many people unknowingly fall in to. You can avoid the consequences of stress eating by having tools to combat the stress and by being mindful. Be aware of what you are eating and think about the healthier options that are available to you. It also helps to plan your meals beforehand so that you aren’t as easily tempted into unhealthy choices. And if you’ve stayed on track, you can reward yourself with a guilt free holiday meal when your family gets together. 

5. Put Your Foot Down When Needed

You’re going to have a lot of requests for the holidays. People will be asking you for favors, guilt you into doing things, and may even pressure you into getting expensive gifts. However, you need to put your foot down and make sure that you’re being taken care of. Don’t take on more than you can put on your plate. Kindly decline favors and requests if accepting them would take away too much of your time and cause stress. Sure, you’ll be disappointing a few people but you’ll find that taking care of yourself first will give you the strength to help others later on.

Don’t let holiday stress turn your holidays into something to dread instead of something to look forward to. By following these tips, you’ll be able to manage the stress or prevent it altogether. It’s important to identify when you are stressed as your emotions can get lost with all that’s expected of you. That’s why you’ll need to step back and assess how you feel on a regular basis. If you’re a new college student struggling with stress, here are some tips for a fulfilling college experience. These tips will help you enjoy school, be happier and consequently, accomplish your goals as the holidays are approaching.

 

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