During the holiday season, everything around us seems to be more intense. We also tend to put more expectations on ourselves and others. This can be daunting for many people, especially for those who struggle with managing their stress levels.
Here we will take a closer look at what stress is, why the festive period can exacerbate symptoms of stress, and provide tips of ways to cope during this season.
What is stress?
When our early ancestors perceived a threat, it would trigger their ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This would act as an aid to survival, and a way of managing change.
While the ‘fight or flight’ response we once relied on isn’t a necessity for survival in modern day life, our bodies still react in the following ways during times of heightened tension:
- Our heart beats faster
- Our breathing quickens
- Our blood pressure increases
- Our muscles become tense
Other common signs and symptoms of stress include:
- Regular headaches
- Unexplained stomach upset
- Dizziness, palpitations, and visual changes
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Anger and impatience
- Loss of confidence
- Poor concentration
- Social withdrawal
- Excessive worrying
While stress is a very normal and necessary response to certain situations, as it helps us to deal with challenges and particular environments, some of us differ in our capacities to cope with and manage it.
Why is the festive period stressful?
The festive period can be an extremely difficult time for those who struggle with stress, as it comes with numerous pressures and expectations including:
- Buying the best gifts
- Having ‘the perfect festive holiday
- Organizing travel back to see family during a busy time
- Socialising and spending money
- Additional shopping, cleaning and cooking
- Spending more time in close proximity to family members
- Finishing work and completing projects before year end
This year, we may also be experiencing additional pressures from the implications of COVID-19 restrictions and increased lockdown measures, such as, sending gifts to loved ones, missing family, and the stress of loved ones’ health.
How to cope with stress during the holiday season
During stressful periods, it’s important to find safe outlets for emotions such as going for a run or walk, or chatting to a friend.
Below are some practical tips to help you cope with stress during this festive period:
- Prepare and plan out how your time is going to be shared
- Try to avoid people-pleasing – it’s ok if you’re not able to do everything
- Spread out your diary and hold some events in January – not everything has to take place in December
- Organise, prioritise and set achievable goals
- Share the load by allocating tasks - give other people responsibilities and let them help you
- Set yourself a budget before the festive shopping and try to stick to it
- Focus on the positives and celebrate the small achievements
- Have a break from social media and don’t compare yourself to others
- Open a window or go for a walk to get some fresh air
- Do some exercise as this releases endorphins which will help you to relax
Seeking professional help
If you have been struggling with stress recently, it’s important to understand that you may need professional help. You don’t have to suffer alone. If you are worried, you can come directly to Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai. One of our consultant psychiatrists will be able to assess your symptoms, provide you with a diagnosis and recommend the best form of treatment for you to receive at our wellbeing centre.
If you would like to find out more information about treatment for stress at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, you can call us on (+971) 4 245 3800 to speak to one of our administrative team, in confidence, or submit an online enquire form.