Conquering Family Stress During the Holidays

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

The holiday season can be a time for families and friends to come together to enjoy one another and attend holiday gatherings with glee. But for some, it can be a time of stress. If you fall into the latter category, there are ways you can plan to make sure your holidays are a little less stressful.
Have reasonable expectations: Develop a flexible mindset during the holidays. As families change, traditions and rituals often change too. Be open to enjoying how the day plays out.
Plan ahead: Brainstorm to create a planned response to avoid overreacting to common stressors that may lead to conflicts with family members.
Practice mindfulness: Recognize when you need a break. Step out of the room or find a quiet place to recenter and refocus before reengaging with family members, even if it’s just to take a few breaths.
Practice kindness: Seek to understand others and cultivate the desire to get to know someone else a little bit deeper. Offer to prepare a meal or make deliveries for family or someone in need. Practice patience while mingling in the community.
Stay connected: Spend quality time with family and friends who value you. Call, FaceTime, write a letter or send a card to those who do not live near you and let them know you are thinking about them.
Spend time in nature: Spending time in nature can help reduce your stress levels and boost your mood. When you feel overwhelmed, head outdoors for some fresh air and sunlight.
Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself is an important step to managing stress. Take time to do something that allows you to refocus your attention, melt away stress and feel refreshed.
Stick to a budget: Decide how much you can afford to spend on food, travel and gifts during the holidays to avoid unnecessary debt.
Set aside differences: Be accepting of family members for who they are. Recognize that everyone has different personalities and expectations of their own. Try to control your reactions and find a more appropriate time to have difficult conversations with the people who push your buttons.
Maintain healthy habits: Try to stick to your normal routine during the holidays. This includes healthy eating, engaging in physical activity, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated. Plan to take a healthy snack or meal with you when attending holiday gatherings if you know the choices will be unhealthy.
Manage your time: Try not to overcommit to numerous holiday plans. Recognize when you need to say no or where you can cut back on other engagements so you can enjoy the moments that mean the most.
Be grateful: Take time to reflect on all the opportunities, people and good things in your life. Make time to cherish family and friends, give or extend help to others and celebrate with those you love.
Learn more about in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar, Conquering Family Stress During the Holidays. You can also sign up for future employer- or individual-focused webinars and guided meditations here.
Photo credit: Getty Images
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association