Coping with Holiday Triggers: Tips for a Stress-Free Season

6 Common Holiday Triggers Expert-Recommended Coping Strategies

Experts Recommend Coping with 6 Common Holiday Triggers

Ah, the holiday season! The most wonderful time of the year… or is it? While families come together, gifts and food abound, and memories are made, let’s not forget about the dark 5 p.m. evenings, frightful weather, and the overwhelming combination of a busy calendar and work deadlines. It’s no wonder this time of year can bring up painful feelings, anxiety, and stress. So, how do we navigate through the joys and challenges of the season?

Feeling the Pressure? You’re Not Alone!

If even thinking about the holidays makes you feel exhausted, it’s time to reevaluate your expectations. As relationship and communications expert Chloe Ballatore advises, let go of the “shoulds” that are weighing you down. Remember, the holidays should make you happy, not stressed. Respect your own happiness and prioritize yourself. Learn to say no to events or activities that don’t serve your best interests. It’s time to take back control and enjoy the season on your terms!

Food, Glorious Food, and the Triggers That Come With It

Holiday gatherings often revolve around food, and that can be a minefield for those with a negative relationship or medical restrictions. But fear not! Registered dietitian Tayler Silfverduk suggests being aware of the notorious “food pushers” in your life. These are the persistent folks who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to offering you a plateful of temptation. Remember, your body and eating habits are not up for discussion. Eat mindfully, have a game plan for limited food options, and remind yourself that nourishment should be pleasurable, not stressful.

Surviving Family Get-Togethers: Setting Boundaries is Key

Family dynamics can be challenging at the best of times, but holiday get-togethers can take it to a whole new level. If you have family members who push your buttons, disagree with your beliefs, or simply drain your energy, it’s time to set boundaries. Missy McCrickard, an energy healer and well-being coach, suggests communicating your boundaries in advance. Let your family know what you will and won’t tolerate. And remember, it’s okay to remove yourself from a situation that doesn’t make you feel respected or comfortable. Family harmony is important, but so is your well-being!

Feeling Lonely? Connect and Show Yourself Some Love

The holidays can be a glaring reminder of what you don’t have or who you’ve lost. If you’re feeling lonely, psychologist Dr. Rebecca Leslie has some sage advice: connect in ways that fulfill you. Set up virtual get-togethers, organize a Friendsgiving, or engage in activities that make you feel loved and supported. And don’t forget to practice self-compassion. Treat yourself like your own best friend and engage in activities that bring you joy. Loneliness can be eased with self-care and fostering connection.

Toasting to Sobriety: Sip on Success and Set Boundaries

If you’re sober during the holidays, navigating traditions centered around drinking can be tricky. Beth Bowen, a coach for alcohol-free women, recommends setting boundaries and seeking support. Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being by getting enough sleep, saying no to events that don’t align with your values, and fueling your body with nutritious food. And remember, just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate! Perfect your non-alcoholic order or bring your own festive beverage to the party. Cheers to a joyful and sober holiday season!

Financial Stress: It Doesn’t Have to Steal the Show

The pressure to spend money during the holidays can be overwhelming. But fear not, Sara Kuburic, a holiday triggers psychotherapist, has some advice: stick to your budget! Be honest with the people you spend time with and find affordable or free traditions. Remember, gifts from the heart often mean more than extravagant store-bought ones. Homemade gifts can be personal and thoughtful. Set boundaries around gift exchanges that cause you financial stress. Instead, plan activities that bring you joy without breaking the bank. Quality time with loved ones is a priceless gift in itself.

Practice Self-Care, All Year Round

Whether it’s the holidays or any other time of year, consistent self-care is crucial. Celebrity psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo reminds us to make a daily schedule and plan self-care activities. When triggers hit, have a game plan ready. Take deep breaths, journal, vent to a trusted loved one, or rely on any other coping skills in your toolbox. And remember, you don’t have to face triggers alone. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Anxiety and depression may feel isolating, but there is help available.

We hope these tips help you navigate the holiday season with ease, humor, and a touch of style. Remember, you deserve to enjoy this time of year, stress-free and surrounded by love. Happy holidays, fashionistas!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Crisis Textline

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or disordered thoughts about food, please reach out for help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. Remember, you’re never alone in your journey to wellness.