Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
Managing Holiday Stress Tips by Jacksonville, Florida Psychologist, Dr. Justin D’Arienzo
It is hard to believe it is holiday season again in Jacksonville, Florida. The Town Center and the Avenues are packed with early shoppers and celebrants. We survived Halloween, Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Now it is time to decorate the Christmas tree and hammer out the Holiday shopping list. If you are like most people, worries about finances and having the ability to provide your family with the perfect Christmas as well as to purchase the myriad of obligatory gifts for coworkers, teachers, relatives, and friends tops the list. I feel my blood pressure increasing just thinking about it. However, it turns out that being a man will mitigate the amount of tension I will feel during the holidays. According to the research, women, such as my wife, will endure the lion share of the stress as women are typically the ones managing last minute gift purchases, cooking for events, working over time, and organizing for gatherings.
In addition to the typical stress engendered by the holidays, some people experience the holiday blues when their holiday does not meet their expectation or they feel the loss of loved ones no longer present. On the other hand there are those that experience great joy and nostalgia during the season when visiting with loves ones, singing familiar songs, or smelling recognizable holiday scents.
I have assembled some tips to help us all deal with holiday stress and build resilience:
1. Establish expectations in advance. Parents especially often feel it is their duty to give their children the best holiday ever. Speak with your children and loved ones about your and their expectations with gifts and activities. If there are financial constraints, parents can use this as an opportunity to teach their kids about the value of money and responsible spending.
2. Focus on connections. Strengthen bonds with friends, family, and the community. In addition to celebrating religious rituals during this time, you may consider creating a new family ritual like volunteering at the soup kitchen or adopting a different family in need each year.
3. The holiday season is not a holiday from self care. Pay attention to your own needs. Don’t stop exercising, shopping responsibly or managing your diet. You will pay for a free for all. The holiday season is a great opportunity for change. You would benefit from beginning your New Year’s Resolution early.
4. Spend time under the mistletoe. Do not forget to focus on your spouse. Men may need to offer assistance with last minute shopping, cooking, and event planning. Women may need to slow down, see the big picture, pause and connect with their partner. I recommend getting under the mistletoe once a day…make sure you are not alone.
5. If the strain is too much to handle consider seeking professional help from a licensed psychologist, mental health counselor or licensed clinical psychological worker.
If you need assistance in managing holiday stress in Jacksonville, Florida, psychological assistance is available with Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, Psychologist. Counseling and psychotherapy are available now at D’Arienzo Psychological Group.