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The Holidays Can Be Triggering: Here’s How To Recognize Five Common Stressors And Cope With Them To Save Your Mental Health

bodnarphoto - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Although the holiday season is known for being the most wonderful time of the year, filled with fun, festivities, food, and family, it is also natural for people to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or sad because of it.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid all the hustle and bustle that the month of December always brings. The gift shopping, cooking, and entertaining can leave you caught up in a swarm of competing demands.

As a result, your well-being in the wintertime may not be so great. Here are five common holiday-related stressors and some tips on how to cope with them so that you can get through the season enjoyably.

Unreasonable Expectations

During the holiday season, there is a lot of internal and external pressure to make sure that everything is picture-perfect and memorable. The holidays are also associated with rituals, traditions, and expectations, so you may feel obligated to maintain a certain standard year after year. And when you don’t think you’ve measured up, that just adds another layer of stress to the season.

However, it’s important to let go of perfection in order to preserve your mental health. You don’t need to do every related activity if you don’t think they’re fun or if they don’t make you happy. Envision your ideal celebration, and then assess your current situation. Instead of trying to accomplish it all, focus on the parts you actually want to incorporate into the holiday.

Furthermore, don’t forget to prioritize yourself! If you’re dealing with burnout and exhaustion, don’t be afraid to say no to things and set boundaries around your personal time.

Food Concerns

Holiday gatherings typically involve lots of food. For those with special dietary needs or any kind of negative relationship with food, the focus on food can be stressful. To make it even worse, there’s usually a pushy but well-meaning relative who won’t take no for an answer when offering food. Or there might be family members making comments on your body and eating habits.

bodnarphoto – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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