The holiday season can be stressful, in more ways than one. The planning and to-do lists can become overwhelming. For college kids, like myself and Abby, the holiday season is also finals season. That means a lot of coffee, all-nighters, and stress. Just thinking about how stressful it will be stresses me out…

With that being said, it is really important to know how to handle the additional stress. Too much much stress can have negative effects on both your physical and mental health and no one wants that. Here are 10 ways to help handle stress during this holiday season:

  1. Set a Schedule & plan ahead  Keeping a schedule of upcoming events and things you need to get done will help you from (personal experience) having a meltdown. You’ll know how and where to focus your attention. Keeping a planner is great- I wouldn’t be able to survive without mine. This is one of the most important things you can do to help handle stress.
  1. Don’t make too many commitments  If you make a bunch of commitments that you can’t handle, it might not end well and can cause you a lot of additional stress. Make sure you can handle the responsibility before saying ‘yes’ to something.
  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself & balance your expectations Nothing ever goes as planned, so don’t be too hard on yourself when things go awry. Make sure that your expectations are realistic, or you could end up disappointed. Just keep in mind that even if things go wrong, everything will turn out for the best.
  1. Take time to yourself The holiday season brings a lot of friend and family time, which is great, but sometimes can become overwhelming. Make sure that you take time for yourself to relax and recharge.
  1. Don’t isolate yourself Keep #4 in mind, but don’t go as far as to isolate yourself.
  1. Get enough sleep As busy and hectic as this season can get, don’t put rest on the backburner. It’s important to get enough sleep so you don’t burn out. (what’s with the stove references?)
  1. Exercise  This is a great way to relieve stress. According to www.heart.org, exercise can:
  • release stress and calm you
  • improve your mood and help you think clearly
  • keep your mind off cigarettes if you’re trying to quit
  • help control your appetite
  • help you lose weight if you’re overweight, or stay at a healthy weight
  • give you more energy and stamina
  • lower your blood pressure
  • increase your “good” HDL cholesterol level
  • reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke
  • help control blood sugar by improving how your body uses insulin
  • improve your quality of sleep
  • help you feel better about how you look
  1. Set a budget There’s nothing worse than realizing you spent more than you should have. Set a budget and stick to it. This can save you a lot of stress.
  1. Change your outlook & practice gratitude If you spend time dreading an upcoming party/family get together/work event (personal note: I can’t wait for next weekend), you will go into it having low expectations, and will likely not have fun. Keep in mind the good things that can come out of it and don’t pay attention to the negative. Practicing gratitude is a great way to help stay positive. Try coming up with 3 things you are grateful for every day for a month and see if you feel any different afterward. I did this for class and thought it was a great exercise.
  1. Have fun! Don’t lose sight of the reason behind the stress. Enjoy your time with family and friends, relax, and have fun.

–Elizabeth

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