Are you stressed about going home for the holidays?

For many of us, home is a little or a long way away, and for many, this may be your first time going home for a longer duration of time. Either way, if home is near or far, the holidays can be an overwhelming time. For many, the holidays are a time of rest, family, and love; however, the holidays are stressful. Whether it is from conflict, unhealthy relationships with family, or just the pressure you may feel to “have the best Christmas.” It’s not often talked about how the holidays can be stressful, and I am here to talk to you about how normal that is. 

The holiday season is often painted as this perfect picture; however, certain aspects of the holidays can be very stressful for many, if not all of us. From the pressure to perform and be our best when seeing family for the first time after months away from home to shopping, travelling alone, and the stress of the pandemic on top of that, the holidays can be stress-inducing. 

Below are some tips to help you take control over the holiday season and minimize the heavy emotions it may bring! I hope you find these tips helpful for you over the holiday season! 

Tips to preventing the holiday blues:

1. Acknowledge how you feel:

Many feel pressured to have a great holiday; however, it is very normal for the holidays to bring out emotions of grief and sadness, and it is OK to take the time to express these emotions. Don’t force yourself to be happy just because it is the holiday season.

2. Be realistic: 

The holidays don’t need to be perfect like in the movies. As families grow and we get older, traditions may change too, and that is okay. Realistically there is only so much time to do everything you want over the few weeks you have off, so pick a few things you love, and enjoy those! Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, embrace the change and create new traditions!

3. It’s okay to say no:

Your loved ones and friends will understand if you can’t make an appearance at every gathering and function! The holidays are a normal time to get run down, and after just finishing a semester and many exams this is your time to catch up on rest and relax. Don’t feel guilty for not being able to do every activity! More so than not, those around you are also tired and will be relieved to see you advocating for yourself, and they will feel encouraged to do the same for themselves too! 

4. Don’t forget about your healthy habits:

 We often get out of routine over the holiday break, and we can abandon our healthy habits; however, I encourage you to focus on keeping a good routine over the break! Obviously, the holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, stay up late watching movies with those you love, and eat lots of great food, but make sure your body and brain are still getting what they need while having fun!

Try these techniques 

– Drink lots of water

– Get lots of sleep

– If you take prescription medications, make sure you pack these and take them when needed

– Include exercise in your break, even if this is going for a nature walk!

– Spend less time scrolling the news/social media, and enjoy the moment! 

5. Do something for yourself: 

Make sure to set aside some time for yourself during the holidays! Do something that you love, whether going for a walk, a particular hobby, etc. Make sure to set aside at least 15 minutes a day to take a breather! Picking something that lowers your stress will set you up for a successful day!

I hope these tips will help to lower your stress this holiday season! Don’t forget that it is very normal to feel all the emotions during this time, and that is OK! Enjoy your break, and don’t forget to take time to take care of your physical and mental wellbeing! 

Wishing you all safe travels and a restful break!!

The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.