Helpful articles for overcoming life's challenges

Navigating Around Holiday Stress

Holiday stress seems to be something we all get affected by mainly because we try to do too much. Being proactive will help keep stressors low. Below are some tips to help you cope through the Holiday season:

  1. Mindset is key…Try to have an Attitude of Gratitude. Perhaps, keep an ongoing gratitude journal or list. “Remember the reason for the season.” This may sound cliché; however, it’s true! Whatever this season means to you remember the reasons why you celebrate it.
  2. Expectations! The holidays will not be like you were when you were a child. You are a different person now, so your experience will be different. That said, it doesn’t mean that it will not be special. Consider starting new traditions to create your own special memories as an adult!
  3. Organization! Organize and prioritize your calendar. Take control of your schedule by spacing out Holiday events and shopping. If you don’t like crowds, consider Shopping when it is less crowded. Taking a planned day off work to get those most stressful tasks done.
  4. Exercise! It seems our exercise schedule is the first to go to have extra time. Instead of ditching the exercise, consider a shorter exercise routine, like a 20-30-minute walk, to clear your mind and give you energy.
  5. Get enough sleep! We tend to “burn the candle at both ends” to get stuff done. We need our rest to have the energy for completing the tasks we need to, so we can enjoy our holidays.
  6. Eat a balanced diet. Try not to overindulge. Just because it’s the Holidays is not an excuse to overindulge. Develop healthy eating habits for all year round. This requires planning. Carry healthy snacks with you instead of hitting the drive through at some fast food restaurant. Or, at a party, start with the vegetable tray before diving into the chips and dip. Eating the healthier snacks first should keep you from overindulging into those tempting treats. Remember…. Moderation, moderation, moderation!
  7. Drink responsibly. Make sure if you are drinking you have a designated driver. If you are someone who has a drinking problem, then make sure you have a plan of how you will cope with parities that have alcohol and/or drugs. Perhaps, attend a 12- step meeting before and/or after the party. Or maybe plan an alcohol/drug free party!
  8. Relax! In the moment of a tense situation breath. Breathing in and out evenly and slowly can help you relax in the short term. Remember to take time out for something enjoyable whether that is meditation or reading a book, have a few minutes of “me time!”
  9. Follow the KISS theory (Keep It Simple Silly!) Sometimes, less is more! Plan unstructured low-cost holiday activities. Enjoy the simple things, like looking at all the different decorations, go window shopping or have coffee with a friend. The holidays don’t have to break the bank to be enjoyable! Frequently, those low-cost and low-key activities create the best memories!
  10. Be Mindful. Being aware of our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations help us stay in the present moment. This is especially helpful when dealing with difficult people whether they are family members, customers, or the public. (This can be easier said than done. You may need professional help to guide you.) If you feel yourself getting tense and angry, try leaving the room or situation. Remember, we can only control our own behavior. If there is family drama, have a plan to exit early or politely decline the invite. After all, you can’t fit everything into your schedule!
  11. Make a difference! Doing something charitable typically brings enjoyment. Consider helping at the food pantry, getting a gift for someone on the giving tree, or putting change in a donation cup. Even holding a door open for someone juggling a lot of packages can give you a nice feeling! We all can make a difference through random acts of kindness!
  12. Depression or anxiety. If you know you tend to get depressed or anxious around the holidays, maybe seeking some professional help would benefit you. Here at Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry, we have many therapists to choose from that can bring some understanding to what you’re going through and help you find ways to cope.

If you are seeking professional help, please feel free to contact us at 847-440-2281 or at

Have an enjoyable and safe Holiday Season!