We offer COVID-19 antibody and swab testing for past and active infection, Click here to learn more

The time has come for the holiday season festivities to start. While this season should be filled with heartfelt and joyous family time, for others, it can be one of the most stressful periods of the year. Whether the pressure of being around family at gatherings spikes your anxiety or you are
just struggling with a lack of time and money, this part of the year can certainly feel like a burden. Not to mention, throwing a global pandemic into the mix ensures you have more obstacles to overcome on top of an already challenging holiday season. Here are a few ways to
lessen the pressure you’re feeling throughout the holidays:

Put Yourself First

Establish, and stick to your individual boundaries. Saying “no” can be uncomfortable, and very hard for many individuals, especially if you find yourself to be a people pleaser. Putting yourself first is important, particularly during the holiday season. You must recognize that this is also a
prime time for relaxing and taking a mental break from work. Don’t fill your schedule to the brim with plans to the point you get so busy that you can’t make time for yourself. Saying “no” is often an adequate and appropriate response that can sometimes be hard to not only convey but also receive. Nevertheless, establishing these boundaries is critical this time of year as it allows you to better prioritize yourself and other holiday responsibilities that take precedence. Falling into the obligation trap is a fast track to committing yourself to unneeded stress. Instead, spend this time doing only the things that you want to do with the people you love. Some fun and relaxing Christmas activities you can do are going to a Christmas light display, making a Christmas playlist, or even watching a festive movie. Alone or with some of your best friends, enjoying ventures that pique your interest can create some of the best stress-free memories.
Remember, there is no written law or unspoken rule that says you have to oblige everybody’s plans. Take it one step at a time and only choose what’s best for you.

Address Outside Stressors Before The Holidays

Inevitably, life is filled with never-ending seasons of stress. Just because the holidays roll around doesn’t mean outside inconveniences will come to a halt. From gift shopping for your loved ones to hosting holiday festivities, there is seemingly an endless list of to-dos. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead as this can work to mitigate your chances of feeling overwhelmed
throughout this notoriously busy time. One of the first things you can do to combat stress throughout the holidays is create a personal budget for yourself. Having an understanding of your finances before you do your gift shopping or party planning is a great way to preserve your financial health during the holidays— an issue many tend to struggle with around this time. Even if you’re not an expert in this area, there are still ways to manage your finances. Downloading a free budgeting app like Mint, for instance,
can make it easy to save money and avoid overspending. It offers everything from personalized insights, custom budgets, spend tracking and subscription monitoring. Thereby, preventing financial stress and allowing you to remain holly and jolly during the holidays. Another simple way to protect both your physical and mental well-being as you head into the
new year is by attending your annual health appointments. Rather than starting off the new year with a list of examinations, tackle them now so you can start the year off on a high note. If you’re unable to make an appointment within this timeframe, don’t worry. There are many online
services available that can serve to support your wellness as you prepare for 2022. For example, if you just need your prescription refreshed or some new corrective lenses, you can do so from the comfort of your couch by purchasing prescription contacts online. This is not only convenient but also saves you time and stress because it can be done anywhere you have an internet connection. Getting one step ahead can ensure that you enter this ambiguous season in a tranquil state of mind.

Staying Healthy

When it comes to your health, the holidays are often associated with the largest amount of temptations. Surrounded by an endless amount of cookies and sweet treats, it can be difficult to stay focused on your health goals. Although it is near impossible to cut sugar completely out of
your diet in a healthy manner, alternatively, you can reduce the amount you take in. Sugar in your body triggers the release of dopamine that is closely connected to small bursts of energy followed by an immediate crash. The problem here is that sugar is addictive. To control this, try
eating only natural sugars like the ones found in fruits and vegetables. You can still get that same effect by eating fruit without jeopardizing your nutritional health. Undoubtedly, staying active is crucial to fulfilling your health and fitness goals. Apart from being a building block in your everyday health, exercise can decrease the negative effects stress has
on your body. In a study performed by Harvard, working out was shown to decrease the body’s stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Thus, making fitness an effective option for times of increased tension. To stay on top of this, start by putting some time aside three to four days a
week to engage in some type of physical activity, keeping in mind that you don’t need a gym to get active. Taking your dogs for a walk or shoveling snow are just a few examples that can allow you to break a little sweat without that pesky membership.

Give Yourself a Break

The bottom line is that this holiday season, cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to indulge in a cookie every once in a while, and accept that offer for another cup of hot cocoa. Maybe add some extra marshmallows in there too because you deserve it. As another year comes to an end, take the time to congratulate and appreciate yourself for getting yourself here. Reflect back on your accomplishments and achievements and know that your ‘failures’ helped you get where you are today. Spend this time doing the things that you enjoy with the people who make you happy, so when it comes time to toast to a new 365 days, you feel relieved and ready to take on the year. Putting yourself first this holiday season is the best gift you can give yourself and will set you up for success all year long.