6 self-improvement tools to help your brain and body beat holiday stress

Take on even the most negative challenges of the holiday season with 8 proven tools and tips for everything from the winter blues to difficult family to financial stress.

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Family, food, gifts, and for most of us, a much-needed break from work.

It’s also the worst time of the year.

Over 12 hours of darkness, gray skies, soul-crushing travel, freezing temperatures, the pressure to buy gifts, and overeating enough to turn your blood sugar into a roller coaster.

Then there is family. You know, those people you might break up with if you weren’t that close to them.

Everyone deals with something during the holidays

Maybe you get along great with your family. Or struggle with holiday excess when it comes to food or booze. Maybe you have a lot of money in the bank and you can be as generous as you want.

But the truth is, everyone feels some Some kind of holiday pressure. The American Psychological Association found that positive emotions during vacation such as love were It is often accompanied by feelings of fatigue, stress, irritability, bloating, and sadness. And a survey conducted by recruiting firm Accountemps found just that 35% of the respondents they were more More stressed during vacations than during actual work.

This year, instead of reactsArm yourself with the necessary tools proactive.

Don’t just take the holidays… own them

Every challenge carries a kernel of opportunity. Whether or not a family feud is what’s going on every year, or the financial pressure you feel from having to fill the socks for 36 extended family members on your partner’s side, it’s important to remember: You can choose how to handle these holiday land mines.

We’ve rounded up eight of the most common holiday stressors with practical, actionable suggestions on how to tackle them.

Happy holidays, and good luck.

Dealing with difficult family

Where would we be without family? Family supports us, nourishes us, knows us…but that doesn’t make it easy.

Unresolved childhood or intra-family issues crop up during the holidays for the simple reason that all stakeholders — and boiling emotions – Close for a few days. Instead of getting caught up in the familiar cycle of escalation and accusations, try something different this year: nonviolent communication.

Nonviolent communication is an approach To talk about the tough stuff (with tough people!) that’s been around for over 50 years. Created during the school-integration turmoil of the 1960s, psychologist Marshall Rosenberg’s book has a simple, revolutionary goal: to move beyond ego-driven, hurtful, and “violent” words to communicate more effectively.

If you’re not interested in reading, pick up an audiobook from your local library or library Audiobook with a 30-day free trial And listen to it while on the plane.

The smartest, fastest and best self-development advice book for the holidays

Stay motivated during the winter blues

If you’re having a hard time getting motivated during the holidays, this is a great opportunity to get inspired by the latest productivity science.

Charles Duhigg, famous b The power of habit He returned with a book on the neuroscience, psychology, and social anthropology of productivity. Smarter, Faster, Better: The Transformational Power of True Productivity He tells a series of exciting stories about how teams and individuals change routines to excel at achieving their goals.

If you’re looking for something more clinical, The Harvard Business Review’s essential collection of 10 articles on how to manage yourself is the winner.

About Managing Yourself A self-development advice book for the holidays

What if you are concerned about your mental health?

Busy holiday schedules, cold weather, and soul-crushing darkness can cause a very normal dip in motivation—but for many, the effect is much more profound.

Studies have shown that cold weather and darkness can be a negative Affect everything from memory and creativity to me Serotonin production in the brain.

Seasonal effect disorder It is real and requires treatment. If you suffer from a serious depressive episode every winter, talk to your doctor and Check out this post about the history, science, and treatment of social anxiety disorder

If your winter blues last more than two weeks You may be suffering from depression or anxiety that requires treatment, According to the American Psychological Association.

If you feel bad but aren’t sure how seriously to take itYou can always contact National Alliance on Mental Health Hotline for free, confidential advice. Just call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

Holiday overeating

Holiday food is amazing. Holiday overeating… less so. Humans are diligent in search Calories– Dense foods like fatty ham, buttery mashed potatoes, and fig pudding (if you’re a 15th-century duke).

Holiday overeating is a tradition that isn’t a problem for most people; It’s a point of pride. However, if you try Weight lossOr keep it or simply live it we willRitual overeating can be a huge problem.

The key to combating overeating is intention. Don’t just settle for it—apple pie has a way of getting around the vague and undefined goals of “not having too much.” Once you decide How Want to eat, check out these two amazing sources of inspiration:

NPR’s Life Kit podcast talks about the latest in diet science – and how focusing on behavioral goals is more important than specific weight goals.

Fasting diets have taken the internet by storm in the past year. Check out an interview by the most prominent advocate of fasting – and based on science – Dr. Valtar Longo.

Dealing with holiday expectations

they were supposed To be happy during the holidays, but shopping, family needs, and the constant loop of eerily cheery holiday music all conspire to make this season overwhelming. In fact, a 2015 survey by Healthline found just that 50+% of respondents felt light to significant stress associated with the holidays.

Expectations are the main fuel for this pressure. In a season when it’s hard to feel satisfied, the pressure to be happy can become a worry in and of itself. If you ever feel like your friends or family expect that from you run out Happiness over the holidays, you know what we’re talking about.

If you are suffering from holiday expectations, Check out this post from meditation teacher (and former CEO of Esquire magazine) Phillip Moffit. It identifies the causes of “tyrannical expectations” and how to deal with them.

Financial holiday stress

Survey after survey found that The biggest source of holiday stress is financial. Simply put: people worry about how they will handle gifts, large meals, and travel to see family.

If you’re in the same boat, know this: You’re not alone. We here at Primer have dedicated a lot of time, many, many electrons to helping people get control of their budget,

If you need to deal with your budgetAnd the Check out our comprehensive budget tips.

If you are looking for personal finance tricks to make money by saving money, Take a peek at our financial hacks section.

If you need to earn more money at work, Salary negotiations and our recruitment experts have you covered.

You drink a lot

All of the aforementioned vacation stresses can lead people to seek refuge at the bottom of the bottle.

If you’re worried about managing a challenging holiday – and you’re worried about potentially severe alcohol dependence – Check out this letter from the respective Primer reader for him Drinking…and what you can do about it.

How do you navigate the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

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