The holidays are charged with overwhelming emotions for all of us. As exciting and joyous they can be, it’s no doubt that they can cause a great deal of stress. December is the time where people can tend to over-exert themselves to fulfil the needs of their friends and families. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some helpful tips to get through this holiday season, here we go.

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. The best course of action is to ‘nip it in the bud’ and regulate yourself before your stress snowballs. Here is a list of tips you may find helpful in managing your holiday stress:

Acknowledge your feelings: Whatever it is you’re feeling, it’s completely okay to let yourself feel that feeling. Life can get difficult. If you’re going through a hard time this holiday season, whether it’s the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or an unexplainable rut you can’t seem to get out of, tell yourself you’re allowed to be upset. You can’t just force yourself to be happy because it’s the holiday season.

Reach out: If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering is also a great way to help others and heighten your spirits.

Be realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect. They also don’t have to stay the same every single year. Life changes and so do family dynamics. Accept what you can’t control and have an open mind to change. For example, if your children can’t make it to your holiday party, find another way to connect with them like Facetiming or sharing videos and photos.

Set aside differences: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Think of the holidays as a time to connect and make memories, not as a time to dig up old feuds. If you can’t set aside your differences, try to take a break so you don’t end up hurting a friend or a relative. Chances are that the person you are stressed to see is just as stressed as you are.

Stick to a budget: Before you go shopping make a gift list. Allocate a certain budget for certain people and gifts and stick to it! It’s easy to get carried away with holiday shopping. The last thing you want to do is try and buy someone’s love with an avalanche of gifts.

Try these alternatives:

  • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Start a family gift exchange.

Plan ahead: Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

Learn to say no: Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and flooded. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.

Take care of yourself: And don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Here are a few suggestions:

Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently irritable, anxious, sad, unfocused, hopeless and unable to carry out everyday tasks. We recommend speaking to a doctor or a mental health professional if you don’t start feeling better.

The holidays can be stressful, but it is possible to create a positive mindset and space for yourself going through the holidays. We hope you found our tips helpful. Enjoy the holidays from us at Cayman Pharmacy Group.