Tips on Handling the Holiday Season

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for anyone. From travel to relationships with family and loved ones, coping with holiday-related emotions can take some skill and effort.

The following are some of the most important tips for navigating the holiday season. With a little foresight, things may not need to be as stressful as you expect.

Manage your expectations

One of the biggest problems around the holidays is having unrealistic expectations. These expectations can be focused on anything from people to situations, and it’s important to take a step back and realistically think about them.

Do you have friends or family who let you down, yet you hold the expectation that this year will be different? Do you romanticize the holidays, only to feel a little less than wowed when they’re over? The only thing you have control over in life is yourself and your reactions, so expecting others to change or somehow be different from a long established pattern is unrealistic and sets you up for disappointment.

Realistically think about people and situations you will encounter this holiday season and adjust those expectations accordingly.

Have a plan

The holiday season also means a lot of holiday parties, from friends and family to work events. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with commitments, so make sure to have a plan this holiday season. Think of possible scenarios and plan out your responses and actions to each one. This way you’re not left grasping at straws if a situation arises.

Have someone you can talk to

Whether it’s a friend, family member, or mental health professional, make sure you have someone you can call or talk to in person if you feel like you’re having a tough time. It’s perfectly fine to ask for help if you need it, and it’s certainly no surprise during the holiday season.

Give yourself a break

Nothing is perfect. Things often don’t go as planned, people may disappoint you, and you will probably make a mistake at some point this holiday season. Along with managing your expectations, make sure to go easy on yourself. 

Laugh at your mistakes. Take things one day at a time. Try and look for the positive in every situation or how you can learn from what’s happened. The less stress you put on yourself during this holiday season, the easier it will be to get through it.

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