Just like that Thanksgiving is over and people are already putting up their Christmas trees and lights. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas there’s little hope you will make it to the ball drop on New Year’s Eve without feeling the stress around you as the year comes to an end. According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, “nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling ‘extreme stress’ come holiday time.”  Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69% are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51% are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.” This just isn’t ok! Here are the top few woes and how to cope!

Woe #1 – Money. Like it or not the holidays cost money. From parties, potlucks, gift giving, donations, cards and more. Chances are you are shelling out a little more cash this time of year. Set a limit. Do not overspend with guilt or joy. Sometimes people spend more money than they would normally because they are worried about feeling guilty while others love the joy of the season and spend too much because of the “Christmas Spirit.” You will still have to be accountable for your finances long after your tinsel falls off the tree, so stay within your means and keep this woe off your list!

Woe #2 – Time. It’s the busiest time of the year! You are invited to celebrations, concerts, events and more. There is a great chance you can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t! Decide what events are meaningful and fulfilling to you and that’s it. No going out of guilt, peer pressure or to keep up appearances.  Choose to spend your time wisely and save your energy from over doing it. If you miss a thing or two its ok, you are only human, and the holidays will be back again in 12 months.

Woe #3 – Family. Something happens around Christmas time and families seem to be on edge. Maybe it’s the high expectations we set on ourselves or each other but we tend to put a lot of pressure on our families at this time of year. Remember this: your family members are people too with their own lives. They have stress and worries just like you, and some you may have no idea about. Make a commitment to give each other some room this holiday season. Look for the best and try not to focus on the worst. We all have bad days.

Woe #4 – Lifestyle Slips. Even if you are the healthiest person all year long you may struggle with yearend festivities. Extra stress and commitments can eat into our workout time and have us both eating and sleeping in ways we aren’t used to. Make sure you are doing your best to keep up with your regular lifestyle practices – sure it may mean getting up early to work out or skipping a piece of cheesecake if you can’t, but you know what makes you feel your best. Make choices that will keep you going and not drag you down.

The list could go on but nothing matters more this holiday season than YOU! Yes you! Your health is what counts the most. From your emotional health all the way to your physical health, it’s crucial you take care of you! Be kind to yourself! Treat yourself well! Look for healthy outlets to manage stress! Write in a journal, sing carols really loud in the car or lock yourself in the bathroom for a good old fashion tub soak. Stress can steal your joy and that is not what anyone wants for you this Christmas. Let your greatest gift be to yourself this holiday season, because there is still a lot of the yule tide ahead. Reward yourself with the best in self-awareness and care this season. It may even have you forgetting about the woes of Christmas!

Mary Hoadley

Director Of The Wellness Center