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Five tips for managing stress this holiday season

We are talking about the stress that comes with the holiday hustle and bustle, and we have five tips for keeping your anxiety in check.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Between decorating, shopping, wrapping gifts, going to parties, and family time, the holiday season is full of fun. But for many, it can also lead to a lot of anxiety.

How can you manage all of the stress?

J.C. McDaniel, a licensed professional counselor and the clinical director at Argenta Counseling, shared five tips for managing your holiday stress.

#1: Focus on what you can control, and forget the rest.

"Quit worrying about Uncle Bob that's coming into town, and whether he shows up on time or whether he doesn't show up on time, or whether he brings uninvited guests or whatever," McDaniel said. "You don't have any control over that kind of stuff, get focused on what you have control of."

#2: Maintain a routine.

"Human beings love routines because it creates predictability, and predictability gives us an idea of what's going to happen," McDaniel said. "So that's a form of control. So, therefore, it reduces anxiety."

#3: Spend within your limits.

Along with making a budget and sticking with it, McDaniel suggests asking someone to hold you accountable.

"That's another good thing, accountability, having somebody in your life that tells you 'hey!'" he said. "If you're not good with money, then don't have access to it. Let somebody else tell you what you can spend for Christmas, who's more accountable."

#4: Practice self-care.

As we get so wrapped up in taking care of others, we sometimes don't take care of ourselves.

"If you want to be the best version of yourself come Christmas Day, then you have to take care of yourself at the same time," McDaniel said. Whether it's going and exercising, take a nap sit outside."

#5: Talk about what's stressing you out, and consider turning to a professional.

"100% of the population could use some good counseling, good therapy," McDaniel said. "Just talking about it is healthy. It's catharsis. You heal through talking. The more you talk about something, the more you feel better about it. So going in and doing that, I would say is, is the best option."

So take a deep breath, focus on what you can control, and enjoy the simple pleasures of the holiday season.

Click here to visit the Americal Psychological Association Holiday Stress Resource Center.

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