DiversityNursing Blog

Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Nov 19, 2021 @ 11:09 AM

GettyImages-1187184385The holidays are a joyful time but also a stressful time for many people. The pandemic has also added an extra layer to the holiday blues. So here are some tips for managing this season's stressors.

According to Psychology.org, common symptoms of the Holiday Blues are:

  • Situational sadness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

Symptoms often begin in November and last until the start of the new year.

Triggers of stress vary for each person but many common themes arise this time of year such as finances, family gatherings, isolation and loneliness.

The thought of holiday spending is unquestionably stressful, but with a little planning, you may be able to alleviate some of that stress.

Budget - creating a budget is most important. Understand what you have for resources and then prioritize. For example, make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for, figure out how much money you have to work with, then allocate your resources in order of priority.

Plan and shop early. It's usually a good idea to start buying gifts earlier in the year. When you see that certain item on sale months before the holidays, grab it. It can be overwhelming hunting down limited items and spending a lot in a short amount of time.

Also don't stress about cutting back on pricey gifts. The important people in your life will recognize that, ultimately, it's still the thought that counts.

For many people, the pandemic is adding to the typical holiday stress of navigating how to approach family gatherings.

Discussing family plans in advance is always a good idea. If you're feeling stressed about attendees being vaccinated or not, try keeping the gathering immediate family only and utilize facetime tools to include those who couldn't be there this year.

If traveling to see loved ones is stressing you out, consider inviting them to your home.

Are there family members who are choosing to skip the full-fledged family gathering? Try spending time with them on other days throughout the holiday season or meet for a meal or some other meaningful activity.

Sending greeting cards to your loved ones during this time of year is another great way to let them know you are thinking of them.

People who don't have the opportunity to gather with loved ones this year may be feeling bouts of loneliness and isolation.

Try taking some extra special care of yourself. It may not completely erase feelings of loneliness, but self-care can help you feel better. Whether you take a relaxing bath, read a good book, practice your favorite hobby, or learn something new, doing something for yourself is important during stressful times.

Volunteer – it’s a great way to beat loneliness. Spend time volunteering at local shelters, fundraisers, and even animal shelters. There are plenty of charities that could use an extra hand during this busy season of giving.

In addition to the stress and anxiety caused by the holidays, many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. People who suffer from SAD typically see the onset of symptoms annually, coinciding with the same time we roll our clocks back.

Treatments are available that can help many people with SAD. They fall into four main categories that may be used alone or in combination:

  • Light therapy
  • Talk therapy
  • Medications
  • Vitamin D

Talk to your health care provider about which treatment, or combination of treatments, is best for you. With these tips, hopefully you’ll have a happy and less stressful holiday season!

Topics: holiday stress, managing stress, stress management, holiday blues

Managing Stress During The Holidays

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Dec 06, 2019 @ 02:32 PM

holidaystressThe holidays are meant to bring feelings of joy and cheer, but this time of year can also bring a lot of stress. No matter what holiday you celebrate, this season can affect us all. Especially Nurses, who work in an already stressful environment, as you juggle more difficult demands of your time, emotions and patience. 

Most people celebrate the holidays with family and friends at home, but you miss many holidays to take care of your patients. Having celebrations with your coworkers is nice, but nothing feels like home. Some families will try to move dates around so they can all celebrate together.

If you're missing holidays to treat patients, then those patients are missing out on their holiday celebrations too. Spreading extra holiday cheer can make you both feel some joy. Fortunately, you get to go home at the end of the shift.

Another stressor can be financial as people go crazy buying gifts and worry how to pay for them. Try not to overspend. Perhaps you’re crafty and can make some of those gifts.

The loss of loved ones is more difficult this time of year. In your profession, you witness the passing of patients and often you’re coping with your own feelings of loss as you try to console the family. Lean on fellow coworkers and managers to help relieve some of the stress. Don't hold it all in and try to get through it alone.

In colder climates, as the season changes to winter, many people are affected by SAD seasonal affective disorder. With less daylight, spending more time indoors and the sense of isolation it can bring, dealing with the cold, and extreme weather conditions, can be quite depressing unless… you love outdoor winter sports! To combat SAD, try light therapy, exercise, planning social get-togethers, talking to a mental health professional, or using medication to help lighten your mood.

The Mayo Clinic offers more tips to help with holiday stress.

  • Acknowledge your feelings. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  • Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events.
  • Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity.
  • Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
  • Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
  • Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

At the end of the day, no one is going to be happy around you if you’re not happy. It’s so important to take care of YOU. We’ve offered some suggestions to help you deal with stress during the holidays. Now it’s up to you to choose what will work for you. Good Luck!

Happy Holidays, Peace and Joy from your friends at DiversityNursing.com!

New Call-to-action

Topics: Seasonal affective disorder, holiday stress, stress during the holidays, managing stress, manage stress

Content not found

Recent Jobs

Article or Blog Submissions

If you are interested in submitting content for our Blog, please ensure it fits the criteria below:
  • Relevant information for Nurses
  • Does NOT promote a product
  • Informative about Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Agreement to publish on our DiversityNursing.com Blog is at our sole discretion.

Thank you

Subscribe to Email our eNewsletter

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all