How to beat holiday stress and actually enjoy the festivities

Woman stressed out on couch

For many, the “most wonderful time of the year” can quickly become the most stressful time of the year. Though there’s a lot to love about the holidays, the pressure to create magical memories can leave us feeling overwhelmed. According to the American Psychological Association,
38% of Americans report increased stress during the holiday season.1

Research indicates that financial pressure is the most common source of holiday stress–though it’s certainly not the only one.2 For instance, many people feel anxious about maintaining a healthy diet amidst a sea of caloric temptations. Others stress about travel and the logistics of getting everyone together. And even if the planning isn’t too burdensome, actually being with family might trigger some unpleasant emotions. 

Though holiday drama is hardly a new phenomenon, 2021 presents some unique variations on this theme. With COVID anxiety and airline dysfunction, travel has become more complicated than ever. Further, supply chain issues have added a new layer of unpredictability to holiday shopping. Finally, a tense political atmosphere may render family time particularly uncomfortable.

While you can’t control airline cancellations or your Uncle Joe’s rants, you can take steps to better manage these stressors–this year and every year.

Tips for maintaining mental wellness this December

Man planning out holiday budget

  • Make a budget

To curb money anxiety, create a budget for all of your holiday expenses, including gifts, travel, and extra food. By working through financial decisions early, you’ll have more mental energy to enjoy festivities later in the month. Pro tip: check for financing options from your favorite brands to minimize your financial burden this December.

  • Stay active

The holidays tend to involve a lot of sitting around, eating, and enjoying seasonal movies under a blanket. Though cozy, this sedentary behavior can lead to a decrease in energy, poor mood, and additional stress. Try to maintain your normal exercise routine; and if that’s not possible, consider other ways to stay active. For example, go for a family walk after big meals.

Girl using Cove while doing yoga

  • Set realistic expectations

In an effort to find the perfect gift, cook the perfect meal, and throw the perfect party, we can set ourselves up for disappointment. Recognize that things might not go as planned–and that’s ok!

  • Rest up

Though it’s ok to adjust your bedtime slightly over the holidays, drastic changes can get in the way of quality sleep. And when your sleep suffers, so does your mental wellbeing. To minimize stress, try to go to bed at about the same time every night and aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep.

Girl sitting on couch using Cove

  • Cove your way to calm

Each Cove session activates a brain pathway that helps you feel calm. When used daily, the device also improves your ability to cope with future stress. Plus, it comes with a handy travel case so you can Cove wherever the holidays take you.

 

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References

[1] Greenlan Quinlan Rosner Research. “Holiday Stress.” American Psychological Association. Available at:  https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf

[2] Healthline. “Holiday Survey Results.” 2015. Available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-HKGQXN9J/.