April 14, 2024

CPS

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Common holiday stressors and how to manage them

4 min read

Holiday stressors are inevitable since our current lifestyles don’t really accommodate vacation or rest time. When the time does come to plan a holiday or vacation, it can feel more like a burden than anything else. Holiday time is hectic and most of us are pushing to get everything done at home and at work. On top of this, we have to make time for extra socializing, more events and holiday planning. The list goes on and on.

A lot of us grind away during the holidays, leaving little downtime. Getting rest almost feels like doing another job. But, there are ways to manage it.

Does the holiday season only bring fun and cheer? (Image via Freepik/ vecstock)
Does the holiday season only bring fun and cheer? (Image via Freepik/ vecstock)

8 common holiday stressors and how to manage them

Holiday stressors can be present all year round. However, sometimes, the unique challenges of the holiday season make it difficult for us to be in the moment. The following are eight common stressors and ways to manage them:

1. Social media posts

Undoubtedly, one of the most common stressors is social media. (Image via Freepik/freepik)
Undoubtedly, one of the most common stressors is social media. (Image via Freepik/freepik)

You know someone is on holiday when a social media post comes up. If you have been stuck at home, these posts can be draining and frustrating. As a way of managing this stress, think about what you would want to post on social media. Remember, most of us show the best side of our lives on public platforms.


2. Family expectations

Everyone wants to have fun with their loved ones. (Image via Unsplash/ Daniel Cheung)
Everyone wants to have fun with their loved ones. (Image via Unsplash/ Daniel Cheung)

While you want to make everyone around you happy, it can be easy to be bogged down by familial expectations. While it is great to think of others, it is not your job or responsibility. Try to be realistic with yourself and your family. Talk to them honestly about how much time and energy you will be able to give.


3. Perfect plans

Is there space for unplanned experiences? (Image via Unsplash/ Glenn Carstens)
Is there space for unplanned experiences? (Image via Unsplash/ Glenn Carstens)

After draining weeks of hard work, you want to work on the best holiday plan. However, sometimes unhealthy perfectionism can creep in, making you feel even more stressed than usual. Try to become aware of these patterns and strike a balance between doing things well and doing things perfectly.


4. Peer pressure

Peer pressure can be immense during the holidays. (Image via Unsplash/ Papaioannou Kostas)
Peer pressure can be immense during the holidays. (Image via Unsplash/ Papaioannou Kostas)

Peer pressure can be especially heightened during the holiday season and is often a prominent holiday stressor. It often leads to using certain substances, doing things that you don’t value, or engaging in things that can potentially hurt you. One way of dealing with these holiday stressors in general is by establishing boundaries.


5. Making everyone happy

When fun turns into something serious. (Image via Unsplash/ Agustin Fernandez)
When fun turns into something serious. (Image via Unsplash/ Agustin Fernandez)

During the holiday season, trying to make everyone else happy is common for many people. However, remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of your emotional health is essential to deal with holiday stressors. This holiday season, don’t be so hard on yourself and fill your cup first.


6. Health concerns

Health can become a concern during the holidays. (Image via Freepik/ freepik)
Health can become a concern during the holidays. (Image via Freepik/ freepik)

Although COVID prepared us for the worst, it is normal to be concerned about your health. It is best to consult with a professional to feel assured about your physical and mental health. Most people are also anxious about gaining holiday weight. Try to balance your diet, but also give yourself permission to indulge every now and then.


7. Social comparisons

Comparing yourself with others can be accentuated during the holidays. (Image via Pexels/ Afta Putta Gunawan)
Comparing yourself with others can be accentuated during the holidays. (Image via Pexels/ Afta Putta Gunawan)

Holidays bring us together, but they also unfortunately bring about social comparisons. One of the most common holiday stressors is seeing that other people are having a really fun time. Often while hanging around with friends, we can’t stop comparing ourselves to them. Try your best to be present in the moment, rather than being carried away with fanciful thoughts.


8. Financial pressures

Buying gifts can be one of the holiday stressors. (Image via Pexels/ Karolina Grabowska)
Buying gifts can be one of the holiday stressors. (Image via Pexels/ Karolina Grabowska)

Finally, everyone is expecting a gift during the holiday season. Finances in general can be a trigger for anxiety and stress. Holiday stressors can put a lot of weight on your pocket, but try not to let it affect your mental health. Remember that the holiday season is meant to be one of joy and relaxation.


Holiday stressors are reminders that we should take care of our well-being throughout the year. This is much easier said than done, but with the methods given above, you can at least be better prepared mentally.

Remember that the holiday season is for you to take some time off and rest; It is a time for you to cherish yourself and your loved ones. Adopt this mental attitude and enjoy the holidays!


Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master’s degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


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