This holiday season will be the first one that some may consider “post pandemic,” and thus will be a return to some of the conventions that come with the season. Hosting holiday dinners, buying people presents, and just the general busy work that comes with preparing for the holidays. While there are certainly those who will enjoy this return to form, for some of us it is a return to the stresses and anxiety that tag along. To help prepare for the holiday season, let’s go over some tips for combating holiday fatigue.
First, how real is holiday stress, and how does it affect mental health? A 2014 study by NAMI found that 64% of respondents with mental illness had their symptoms become worse during the holidays. This is due to several factors, but one of the big ones was stress. 63% of respondents said that the holidays put them under too much pressure, with 57% saying that it made for unrealistic expectations. The stress of holiday planning not only creates stress but can further worsen other mental health issues that you might be facing.
So, what are some ways that we can mitigate this stress? One way is to be more realistic with your holiday goals. Accepting that not everything will be perfect is a great first step in dialing stress in. By not putting that internal stress on yourself to have the ‘perfect’ holiday, you’ll make the whole experience much more manageable.
Another tool you can use is to take time for yourself. Not every moment needs to be spent on planning, cooking, or shopping. It’s important to be able to take a break from all the hustle and spend some time focusing on your own mental health.
Finally, as with most mental health issues, one of the best things that you can do is to reach out to those around you for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reaching out to friends and family to help you, whether that be with shopping, decorating, etc., will go a long way in reducing the stress that you feel.
From all of us at NAMI Clackamas, we hope you all have a great, stress-free holiday season.
If you want more tips for reducing holiday stress, click this link here.