For many people, the winter holidays can be one of the happiest times of the year. But the busy holiday season also can leave others feeling overwhelmed and tired. If you fall into the second group, here are some suggestions to help you rein in holiday stress:

  • Create a budget. Plan your gift giving and establish a budget in advance.
  • Don’t worry about finding the perfect gift. Ask people what they want instead of searching for the perfect gift. Try to shop early and stick to your budget.
  • Plan family get-togethers. Consider buying some prepared foods — this way you don’t have to cook for everyone yourself. Ask others to bring their favorite dishes and lighten your load.
  • Schedule time with family and friends. Allow time for yourself to do things that you enjoy. Give yourself time to relax and recover after extended visits.
  • Manage your time. Set priorities and write them down. Don’t set impossible goals and don’t over commit yourself. Listen to your body: if you are feeling overwhelmed rest when your body tells you to.

The holiday blues
While an enjoyable time of year for many, for some the holidays can be a time of sadness. Feelings of loneliness and anger can intensify when contrasted with the joyful expectations of the holidays. Here are some tips to help you deal with holiday blues:1

  • Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor or doctor. Talking about your feelings can often lighten the burden you may feel.
  • Connect socially. Try not to isolate yourself. Take a vacation with a family member or friend; spend time with people who care about you; volunteer your time to help others. Spending time with those in need helps them while making you feel less isolated.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out — treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
    • Maintain a normal routine.

Getting your home ready
Are you preparing for guests this holiday season? Is your home ready? Whether your guests are staying for the day or longer, the following checklist may help make your home safer, more comfortable and help reduce stress as you prepare for the holidays.