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Stress, Anxiety, and the Holiday Season

The dizzying demands of the holiday season often bring unwanted guests: stress and anxiety. Long shopping lists, busy schedules, and concerns about keeping your family safe all make the most wonderful time of the year feel less and less like a wonderland.

During this unique year, it can be even more difficult to find healthy ways of coping with negative emotions. These practical tips can help you avoid holiday dread and instead fill moments with cheer.

Acknowledge your feelings

If you’ve suffered loss in the last year or the holidays bring back feelings of loneliness, you’re not alone. Don’t force a smile on your face. Acknowledging your emotions is the first step toward a healthy resolution.

Plan ahead

Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, and other activities. Plan out the menus and lists well before you’re rushing out the door. Avoiding that last-minute scramble will make the entire process feel much less stressful, and you won’t be worried you forgot something.

Stick to healthy habits

Whether it’s reminding yourself to drink water, making sure you eat your greens before grabbing another cookie, or enforcing bedtime even when school’s on break, sticking to healthy routines will keep everyone’s stress and anxiety low. While there can be exceptions for late-night viewings of Polar Express or extra sweets, don’t abandon normalcy all together.

Learn to say no

Saying yes when you should say no is a guaranteed stressor. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in another gift exchange. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, remove something else from your agenda to make space for the biggest priorities.

Reach out

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or isolated, reach out for help. Whether it’s a call to your best friend or a visit to one of Valley Oaks’ trained counselors, there is support out there during this busy time of year.

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