7 tips to help unwrap from stress in the dawning New Year
-by Linda Branch
It is that time of year where good will and merriment take hold, and thoughts turn to family, friends, food, the spirit of giving and new beginnings. But, the holiday period leading up to the New Year’s celebrations can also bring stress, depression and other emotional upheavals.
Finding ways to cope and preserve your well-being should be added to any to-do or wish lists and resolutions.
It could be your first Christmas without a loved one or juggling being a mother for the first time and other family responsibilities. In some cases, it could be the financial strain of looming unemployment through redundancy or end of a temporary contract and facing reality for the first time of not being able to purchase any gifts, Christmas tree or other traditional holiday items because you now have to ‘stretch a dollar’ on other priorities.
Alleviating stress, while still enjoying what the year-end festivities have to offer can therefore be a delicate balancing act. Here are seven tips, from varied sources including the American Psychological Association, Mayo Clinic, and the World Health Organization, which may help in navigating any first-time or ongoing challenges in a more positive and productive frame of mind.
1. Sometimes it is good to take a break from the consumer buying and commercial aspect of the holidays, and reflect and refocus on your relationships and the intangible elements that give your daily life meaning rather than the material objects.
2. Keep track of your spending so that your budget remains manageable. Sticking to a budget helps you to maintain control and not overspend. There are many apps now easily available, which can help you keep on track.
3. Plan ahead to help maximize your time when shopping, attending parties, volunteering for charitable efforts, and other activities. Plotting a plan of action can help save gas and other resources when you are ‘watching your pennies.’
4. Try to set aside old or new ‘trigger issues’ with the loved ones in your life that could provoke arguments, tension, etcetera and remember that they too may also be experiencing high levels of stress.
5. Remember that you cannot please everyone so learn how to say no and lessen the chances of becoming overwhelmed with multiple holiday and work-related commitments.
6. Take timeout during the hustle and bustle to take care of your health and well-being. The holidays offer opportunities for over indulgence but try to maintain discipline. Let your foodie photo picture your healthy choices.
7. Lastly, the World Health Organization references mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Do not be afraid to reach out for professional help if you feel the need for assistance in addressing your stress and mental health during the holiday season and as you boldly step into the New Year in 2020.