Top 10 Tips for Coping with the Holidays - Ascension Wisconsin

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Published on November 28, 2016

Top 10 Tips for Coping with the Holidays

From crowded malls to unpaid bills to hosting out-of-town guests, the holidays can cause overwhelming stress. Cut through the chaos and stress by following our top 10 holiday tips:

  1. Be kind to yourself.
    This is first on the list because it's the most important! 
    • Spend time with people with whom you can feel free to be yourself. 
    • Set some time apart for quiet remembrance. 
    • A 15-minute break can help you relax and relieve stress. 
    • Taking a brisk walk or getting some exercise can significantly improve your mood.
  2. Establish priorities. 
    • If you can't do everything, it's ok to say no to some things. 
    • Do what you want to do, not what you "should" do. 
  3. Plan ahead. 
    • Shop by mail or Internet. Have the company wrap and ship gifts directly to recipients.
    • Start addressing your holiday cards now. Complete five cards a night. Or, send New Year's cards this year instead.
    • Simplify gift-giving by choosing a theme. For example: Buy a book or sweater for everyone on your list.
    • Plan meals, shopping lists and other activities in advance so you have more time to enjoy the holidays.
  4. Set limits.
    • Go on a stress-reduction diet this holiday season.
    • Relax your housekeeping preparations.
    • Share the workload: make the holidays a family affair so you're not burdened with all of the work.
    • Shop early in the month and early in the day.
    • Set a budget and don't spend more than you intend. Don't let guilt, competitiveness or perfectionism send you on more shopping excursions than you would like.
    • Don't do too much. Take time to rest and relax.
  5. Tell others clearly what you want and need for the holidays.
  6. Create new rituals.
  7. Realize it's normal to have feelings of sadness and depression.
    • If you're facing difficult family situations, set aside time to spend with your friends. 
    • Those who feel isolated or alone should take advantage of resources in their community or volunteer their time at a local charity.
    • If you feel you or a loved one is suffering from more than just the holiday blues, it's always a good idea to ask for help. Call Wheaton Franciscan Mental Health & Addiction Care in Milwaukee at 414-874-4560 or Racine at 262-687-2273. 
    • Read our Help for the Holiday Blues article for additional information.
  8. Allow yourself to be human.
    Avoid perfectionist expectations during the holidays.
  9. Find ways to stay healthy. 
    • Continue to exercise. Don't let your regular regimen lapse.
    • Eat healthy foods and limit your consumption of high-fat holiday treats. 
    • Serve healthy fare at your family's holiday party. Browse our Healthy Recipes library for lots of healthy and tasty ideas!
  10. Celebrate life. 
    • Remember what's important. Spend some time focusing on family, religious beliefs or traditions. 
    • Reflect on the past. Honor and remember loved ones who have passed away.

Additional Tips for the Holidays

For More Information

If you tried all of these tips and still need help coping with the holidays, see one of our behavioral health specialists.

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