Stressed Over the Holidays? A Berkeley Therapist Offers Advice


The change of weather at the end of the year is often seen as a great time by many people. Mostly, this is because it signifies that the holiday season is now upon us. However, this is not the case for everybody, and it is quite common to feel dragged down by the number of demands that the holiday season brings, which can then lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety.

So, if you struggle to cope during this period, you must remember that you are not alone. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with the issues that the holiday season brings. These simple tips can help reduce your stress or anxiety levels, which should allow you to feel happier during the holidays and help you focus on spending more time with friends and family.

Top Tips For Coping Through the Holidays

Start Planning Early

This is one of the best tips for dealing with stress, but many people fail to follow it. If you are heavily involved in planning activities for the holiday season, you should expect that many things are going to come up. Unfortunately, this means that it can be easy for certain things to slip your mind until that moment, such as forgetting to bring a particular ingredient to the dinner party.

Not only are moments like this devastating to the group, but it may also be embarrassing as you may feel that failed at the task that you were given. Just the thought of forgetting about something when people are depending on you can lead to overwhelming levels of stress, and you need to do your best to ensure that you don’t find yourself in these shoes.

One of the best ways to avoid such issues is to always be ahead of your plans. Yes, even if you feel that you have an excellent memory, your brain will still appreciate that extra little bit of space that you give it. So, you should write down new tasks as they come or get an app to keep track of all that you need to do. This will help you avoid any last-minute scrambling.

Just Pause

When you have a range of things that you are doing during the holidays, you may feel that your days are being eaten up by task after task. During such a period, it is easy to lose sight of yourself or get lost underneath all the stress. When you start to feel like this, take a moment to pause and dedicate some time to the things that you love.

Depending on your schedule, this pause can range from a few minutes to days. During this time, the focus should be on doing the things that you enjoyed before the holiday season began. So, this may be reading, running, or even listening to music in the calmness of your room. This should help give your mind the clarity that it needs, and you should come out of your activity feeling more refreshed and raring to go.

Don’t Overspend

Money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holidays. The more kids, relatives, and friends that you have, the more you may have to spend on gifts or activities. One of the best and proven methods for dealing with money-related stress is by creating a budget and sticking to it.

However, if you already have a budget but are struggling to follow it, or believe that you may not have enough money to cover everybody, don’t fret. There are many other ways to please people without going too big on presents. Look through your recipient list and think deeply about what they would like the most. If any of these can be homemade, or you think they will be happy with a thoughtful but cheap present, then go for this option instead.

Focus on Enjoying Yourself and The People Around You

The holiday season may mean that you have to get together with people that you are not necessarily fond of. This may be a relative or a friend who has grown distant, and focusing on this can easily lead to increased stress levels.

However, you must remember that one of the most important parts of the holidays is being grateful for what you have and the people around you.

To help reduce your stress levels, you can make a promise to yourself to temporarily put away grievances. Instead, you should make room for the imperfections that people have, especially as they may be feeling the stress of the holiday seasons too. Then, if you are still interested in resolving any issues, you can engage in an open conversation with them after the holidays are over. If you are unsure how to do this, Dr. Lynn Winsten is highly experienced in dealing with relationship issues.

Accept That Things May not Always Go According to Plan

It can be easy to have a picturesque setting for the holidays in your head where everything goes just how you imagine it, but this may not always be the case. When planning for holidays, you must remember that it must not always be perfect or exactly as it was last year, but what is most important is that you enjoy your time with friends and family.

So, if a close friend or family member is unable to make it, or something comes up that stops you all from celebrating together, you shouldn’t dwell on this too long. Instead, you can find a different way to communicate and wish each other happy holidays, such as sharing pictures or having a virtual call.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak to a Professional

Sometimes, regardless of what you do, you may still feel an overwhelming level of stress during the holiday season. Additionally, you may have increased levels of anxiety, or difficulty sleeping. If this is the case, then you should not be afraid to speak to a professional. Dr. Lynn Winsten of Berkeley, California, has extensive experience in dealing with stress levels and anxiety caused by the holiday season and will be glad to help you out.