5 Holiday Triggers and How to Deal with Them

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Do the holidays make you stressed out? Maybe even a little angry? You’re not alone! Many people feel that way this time of year. Between family interactions, expectations, and the ridiculous shopping craze, emotional triggers abound! We’ll look at five of the most common and share some coping tips.

1. Your Host(ess) Appearance

In a world where our ideas of reality come from Pinterest and Instagram, it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself to appear a certain way or have your house and table setting look “just like the one in that picture.”

The reality is that those pictures are staged. Take a deep breath and stop pressuring yourself to do things that aren’t realistic. Be you! The people coming over are your family and loved ones. They don’t care what your table or living room looks like anyway.

stressed woman sitting on bed

2. Trying to Do It All

During the rest of the year, you may let house cleaning or other chores slide, but with the impending holidays, there’s suddenly pressure to make everything perfect. You want your kids to have a memorable experience and want everyone to believe you’re on top of everything.

Stop! That’s not realistic – and you’ll have a meltdown. Talk about giving your kids something to remember! Instead, plan simple things and ask your family to help you.

3. Shopping

Between trying to get everyone most or all of the things on their list, juggling your budget, and being sure no one feels slighted on Christmas morning, gift buying is a huge trigger.

Slow down. Relax. It’s okay to spend different amounts on your kids so long as they like what they got. And speaking of the kids, be sure they understand that gifts are a privilege. Getting them one thing from their wish list and a few smaller gifts is completely fine.

For the adults, consider skipping gifts altogether and instead pick something you can do to enjoy time together – dinner out, a show, or an experience. Another option is to draw names so that each adult is only buying for one other relative, “Yankee Swaps” and “Secret Santa” gift-giving can be some of the most memorable gifts you give and receive.

family together

4. Family Dynamics

Separated families and those with complex family dynamics can create a great deal of stress around the holidays. If getting the whole family together on a single day is bound to create tension, be flexible. Consider celebrating with different people on different days or alternating your celebration location from year to year. Think long-term. Christmas is only one day out of 365.

5. Travel

Long drives and plane rides are common during the holidays. They can also be incredibly stressful for people. Only you can decide what’s best for you and your family, but it’s important to remember that creating your own rituals is just as important as keeping up old traditions.

If you decide to skip the travel battle, be honest. Don’t say you’ll try to make it when you know you won’t. Be sensitive, but stick up for what you need. In the long run, everyone will benefit.

What other things cause you stress during the holidays? How do you deal with it?

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