The Key to Happiness: Managing emotional stress during the holidays


Do you turn into a kid in a candy store at Christmas or does it bring up feelings and stressors that affect your day-to-day life? With the added uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus in our communities, this year might be more difficult than in previous years. But emotionally shutting yourself off from the world for the next month is not the answer.

We’re heading into an uncertain holiday season, but don’t let the uncertainty grab hold of you. Today we’re going to share some tips on how to manage the emotional stresses that come with the upcoming holiday season:

Be flexible: This year’s holiday season isn’t going to be like last year. The holiday spirit is still here, but we may need to harness it differently. For example, if you used to have a big dinner with your extended family, maybe you’re going to limit it to those more immediate members in your bubble. You could do happy hour and drinks over video conferencing instead. Find other ways to connect with your family and close friends you can’t see in person. 

Start establishing healthy habits: We’re going to expand on healthy habits for 2021 in our next post, but for now, think about what grounds you. Perhaps you can start a daily routine that includes meditation, yoga, exercise, or reading a favourite book. Make it part of your morning routine to help start off each day with calming reflection or me-time. 

Budget your holidays: We’re not financial advisors, but we do know that when you plan and budget for holiday gifts and spending, you’re less likely to have regret and stress over your credit card bills in January. This also means budgeting your time so you are sure to include physically distanced social activities and events. Sit down and look at what you can afford this holiday and stick as close to that as you feel is important to you.

Say No: If you are asked to do something you’re not comfortable with, or something you feel will cause overwhelm, just say no. You don’t have to host a family dinner. You don’t have to participate in a group gift exchange if that causes you anxiety. You don’t have to say yes to anything you don’t truly feel is important.  

Talk it out: Find someone you can confide in or talk to this month. This could be a friend you can text or call if you feel your emotions getting out of control. It could be Zoom or Facetime check-ins with a good friend. If you are staying closer to home this season, find someone to talk to virtually or over the phone. They might need a listening ear too.

Our number one tip for you this holiday season is to remember that you are not alone. Many people are spending their holidays in different ways this year but remember to be flexible as things evolve this year, find ways to ground yourself daily, budget your money and time to avoid overwhelm, say no before you feel overwhelmed, and have people you can talk to when you need it. 

If you need some to talk to or get support, book a counselling call with Dr. Diamond this month. Your extended health benefits may even pay for all or most of your session. Book your virtual or in-office counselling sessions now.


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