How to reduce your stress this holiday season
The holidays bring with them joy, cheer and stress. The pressure that comes with planning, preparing and even enjoying holiday festivities can take all the happiness out of them.
Holiday stress isn’t inevitable, though. Here are a few simple strategies for handling and reducing it:
- Savor good moments. Let your mind feel how good experiences register in your body and self for 15 to 30 seconds. Research has found that savoring positive experiences strengthens our positive response to them.
- Schedule downtime during the holidays. Because there are so many things going on during the holidays, it can be helpful to make a schedule to get everything done in time. Just make sure to leave time in your schedule for downtime to rest and recharge. Time for yourself will make it easier for you to have fun and handle stressful situations.
- Give up on trying to change difficult relatives. This means accepting the difficult relative for who he or she is, including the discomfort and pain they can create. They likely feel your judgement, which makes them more defensive. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has dedicated an entire article to the complex topic of dealing with difficult relatives.
If you need personal support, remember that every UC location has a faculty and staff (or employee) assistance program that offers free, confidential resources for emotional health. Counseling resources are often available at your location, with easy access to short-term counseling, assessment and referral. Or you can seek help through your health plan — UC’s medical coverage includes behavioral health benefits for sessions with counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
Take advantage of these tips and resources to help bring the joy and cheer back to your holidays with less of the stress.