Holidays are supposed to be a relaxing and comforting time, yet most of us find ourselves stressed out and cranky. According to a research study conducted by Consumer Reports, 90% of Americans are at least moderately stressed during the holiday season. The CDC Survey reports show that almost 25% are depressed after the season is over.
That’s what stress does to our mental and physical well-being, and so it’s imperative that we address this issue. Bear in mind that the holiday season is not to be blamed here: after all, it is just like any other time of the year. The actual stress-creating factors are the people, the topics they discuss, and the dramatic events which transpire.
The most common reasons why many people find the holiday season to be extremely stressful are financial issues, social anxiety caused because you must reunite with estranged family members, and the pressure of getting the most lovable gifts for your loved ones. Most of us must tolerate varying levels of stress during this time, and we do, but there are some who simply cannot bear with the stress, getting seriously affected by it which translates into other issues such as chronic body pains, anxiety, depression, and increased susceptibility to infections.
While everyone is wishing happy holidays in their own way, consider the following well-researched tips if you really want your holidays to be full of happiness.
Leave Behind the Contentions
Steer clear of the conversations that have never reached an agreement between your family members and yourself. Avoid such arguments especially right before a big event or in the morning, as the aftereffects of it would prolong for a long period of time.
Let’s be honest, going over the same set of arguments repeatedly is not going to solve anything, so it’s better to just apologize if need be and politely excuse yourself from engaging in the same conversations you’ve already had a million times over. If that is not possible, try passively listening to the speaker while actively ignoring those parts of the conversation you don’t agree with. You can also apply the concept of introspection here, whereby you listen to the speaker and at the same time try to assess why he or she thinks in that way.
Honesty and Compassion Always Help
A little change in your tone of voice and choice of words can do wonders. Opposing views expressed during discussions, especially those around sensitive topic, can easily become hurtful and offensive to others, and your harsh tone and/or strong vocabulary will only add insult to the injury.
Strong language only fuels the fire without improving the situation, however there is no doubt that it does offer a bit of a catharsis to the one who uses it because it releases a lot of those built-up emotions. But, of course, such a catharsis is not sustainable and quite harmful to your relationships.
A better way of achieving a more sustained cathartic state of mind is to maintain the perception that no one is trying to belittle you as a person with their arguments or to accept the fact that the discussion happening is not a battle for power. By maintaining such a thought-process, you will be able to maintain better focus on the matter under discussion and may actually resolve the matter.
Keep Calm When Tensions Rise
If you’re already tense ahead of the upcoming holiday season, that means at the back of your mind you already know what kinds of discussions you will inevitably have to endure. However, there is still time, so you can very well prepare with a close friend of yours to figure out how you are going to effectively maneuver the arguments either in your favor or avoid entering them altogether.
Of course, it is easier said than done. The holidays are a very personal time as you are surrounded by people who are related to you by blood, and hence everything registers on a deeply emotional level. There are bound to be some bad eggs who would want to take out all their frustration on whoever offers them the opportunity to fight, so steer clear of those people.