Stressed out this Festive Season?

We have 4 stress-relieving tips to help maintain your well-being and stay cheery during the year-end holidays.

It’s that time of the year again: when the shopping malls are decked out in Christmas decorations, when the office starts organizing year-end parties and you have to bring a present for someone you don’t even know, when your child (or child-at-heart) asks for the latest expensive gadget as a Christmas present…

Yes, the year-end festive season can often be a time of joy for many people, but for others, it’s a tormenting period of unhealthy food, excessive socializing, and the pressure to buy things we might not need!‌ If you are someone that shudders at the sound of Santa, here are some things you can do to help reduce the stress and cope with the anxiety of the festive season.

Photo by Asiya Kiev on Unsplash

1. For those that dread the calories:

When the holidays come, so do the buffets and sweets and desserts. If you’re concerned about that waistline, it’s not a bad idea to watch the portions you’re reaching out for and not take too much! Studies have definitely shown that food like chocolates can improve your mood, but be aware not to have too much of it. Even among chocolates, choosing a healthier alternative like dark chocolate can be easier on the waist and still contain the chemicals that can improve your mood.

It could be difficult to find the time, but it’s still necessary to stay active. Whether it’s going for a walk with family or friends, exploring the outdoors or hitting the gym, just 30 minutes of exercise can help to manage stress, boost energy, improve your mood and reduce fatigue—so get up off the couch and get outdoors!

2. For those that have a packed schedule: 

The festive season can often be extremely busy, and you might look towards caffeine or alcohol to help you get through the hustle of it. However, relying on these unhealthy treats might feel good in the short run, but ultimately will bring about an energy lull or “sugar crash”. Instead, it is recommended to turn towards fresh fruit, which is abundant during the year-end season, like oranges or strawberries, which are excellent sources of Vitamin C that can provide you with the same energy boost and leave you refreshed and healthier.

The Great Christmas Village at Orchard Road. Photo by Orchard Road

Another way that might help would be to take breaks and unwind. Although it might seem counterproductive to ‘do nothing’, taking breaks has one of the largest impacts on one’s productivity! Take a short stroll in the neighbourhood park connector, or visit the Christmas decorations along Orchard Road, like the Great Christmas Village at *Scape. Take a short break like this to unwind and focus on appreciating the world around you. Breathe, feel relaxed, and you’ll be ready to take on the socializing and work once the holidays are over!

3. For those that dread the socialization:

Between the potential family conflicts and interactions with others during the holiday season, it’s hard to catch a break from all the social interaction in this festive time. Being in close proximity at all times to others be it at a house party or a office gathering, with the relative lack of privacy, can become a significant source of stress. Sometimes that one nosy auntie wants to know how you’ve been the last year, and you just don’t feel like talking about it!

Photo by Natalia Figueredo on Unsplash

Sometimes, we just want to get away, and we often neglect to make some time for ourselves. Treating yourself to some essential ‘me time’ with self-care activities like employing mindfulness techniques, getting some extra sleep, unplugging from technology, or engaging in year-end reflection are great methods to relax and take care of your mental well-being.

4. For those that stress over the perfect present:

Buying the perfect present for your loved ones shouldn’t be that hard, but it just is. For those that engage in the tradition of gift-giving during the festive season, it might be difficult to think of a new gift or are just not sure of how much to spend on the office Secret Santa party.

Why not look into alternatives to traditional gifts that can be helpful for the environment and also your well-being?‌ One gift that I always recommend is gift vouchers to a mall. Not only are they environmentally friendly by not contributing to waste and packaging, you also save the hassle of thinking what exactly to get that special someone!‌ The recipient will have the freedom to pick out something that they definitely want, and you can rest easy knowing that you can always give the perfect gift to anyone.

The pressure that malls and shops place on you to spend can be quite overwhelming too. Between gifts, food, and holiday expenses, it’s no surprise that the festive season is one of the busiest times for retail stores, and they can pull out all the tricks in the book to get you to make an impulse purchase. One of the worst feelings is the feelings of regret after you’ve made an impulse purchase. To counter this, stay alert and aware of what the shops are trying to sell you, and think of whether you really have a need for the item. Do your research and set a budget before you commit to buying something that might claim to be too good to be true!‌

Photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

At this time of year, we’re bombarded with images of perfect lives, which bear as little relation to reality as tinsel does to gold. If you’re lucky enough to be with the people you love, warm and safe, with enough to eat, I’m sure you feel as blessed as I do. But if your life is currently full of difficulties; if you aren’t where you want to be, either literally or figuratively, remember that extraordinary transformations are possible. Everything changes. Nothing is forever.

— JK Rowling

It might take some time and upfront effort to prepare yourself to handle the stress and anxiety that comes with the festive season, but the preparation is definitely worth it!‌ Do you have other sources of stress during the festive season?‌ Share them with us in the comments section below!

Leave a Reply