Dealing with Holiday Stress

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and though many call it “the most wonderful time of the year,” we’ve found that it can also be the most stressful time of the year. With family expectations, the kids back at home, traveling or guests, traditions to uphold, extra spending, eating and drinking, it’s no surprise that we often want another vacation after the holidays.


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Quite often, we succumb to all the extra pressure because we are trying our best to please everybody else. We try to find the perfect gift for a loved one, or we try to live up to our families expectations with the fanciest party. While it is often important to consider the needs of others, it is never good when that consideration comes at the expense of your own. With these suggestions in mind, you may be able to enjoy the holidays a little bit more, both for the sake of yourself and your family.

Set your priorities

One thing that quickly falls away during the holiday weeks is any semblance of a schedule. While it is hard to maintain a schedule with visiting family, travel, and holiday parties, it is helpful to identify what your obligations are, and what you have to do to keep yourself calm and happy. Is it your yoga class or other exercise? Or the hour in the morning by yourself? If those things rejuvenate you, don’t compromise! If you take care of those few things, you’ll be much more able to give during the rest of the day.

Don’t overdo obligation

Many times we hear people say, “But I have to give so-and-so a gift! They were so nice to me/they expect it/they’ll be so disappointed if I don’t!”

It might be necessary, or it might not. But if the obligation is stressing you out, you’re strained financially, or you have too much on your plate already, you probably don’t have to do it. Consider setting that gift idea aside, or consider a more meaningful time–for both of you–where you take them out for lunch or buy them coffee. The holidays don’t have to be the only time you show affection for someone else.

This can also be taken into consideration for feeling obligated to throw the best and largest holiday party, or hosting 15 of your relatives in your home because “they’ll expect it.” You’ll be surprised at what a release it is to politely decline or to suggest a simpler idea.

At South Denver Psychotherapy, we are available for appointments both before, during and after the holidays. Don’t hesitate to give us a call ( Sometimes simply opening up the weight of obligation can lighten the load immensely.