The holidays are for spending time with friends and family, giving gifts, and overall having a cheerful time. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a source of stress for many people.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed when the holiday season rolls around? If so, you’re definitely not alone. A lot of people find themselves stressed out and unable to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the season.

Add in seasonal depression, and the holidays can wind up taking a huge toll on our mental health. These five tips will help you reevaluate how you see the holidays and help you get them under control.

  1. First, take a deep breath and step back from the situation. 

Once you’ve realized you’ve become overwhelmed, allow yourself some self-care time to unwind and take a break. Your friends and family wouldn’t want you stressing yourself out and spreading yourself too thin. Be sure to give yourself frequent breaks from all the holiday commotion to meditate, do some yoga, have a relaxing bath, or whatever it is that self-care means to you.

  1. Understand that because of Covid, long-standing traditions might have to change.

In-person gatherings might not be possible this year, and while it may be a little less cozy, gatherings might have to take place on Zoom or over a phone call rather than in your home. Just remember that even though it might not be what everyone would prefer to do, safety is the most important thing. Keep in mind that Covid and its restrictions won’t be around forever.

  1. Try your best to stick to your budget, whatever that may be.

One of the biggest stressors of the season is the financial burden it can have on a lot of people. Don’t spend more than you can or feel pressured to give the ‘biggest’ or ‘best’ presents. You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s the thought that counts”, and this is a good time to remember that. Stick to your budget so you’re not struggling to pay bills this month.

  1. Make sure to let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling.

The holiday season puts a lot of pressure on people to be happy, but it’s okay to not be. If you’re feeling down, don’t feel bad about it. Even if something bad hasn’t happened to make you feel that way, your feelings are always valid. Acknowledge your feelings instead of trying to hide them or feel bad about not being as happy as you ‘should’ be during the season.

  1. Making lists can help declutter your mind. 

            Take a few minutes to write down the names of everyone you need to shop for, your budget, any addresses you need to remember for sending gifts and cards, as well as what ingredients you need for your holiday meals. This simple task alone can help you declutter your mind.

Making a list is an incredibly simple but effective way to take a lot of stress out of your holiday shopping experience. Lists help you cut down on the number of shopping trips you need to make, as well as prevent last-minute trips for the things you forgot.