Holiday stress and how to manage

wpengineMarina Agafonov, Psychotherapy, Stress

‘Tis the season to be merry! If only the holiday season was so simple! However for most of us the holiday season brings in additional stress, between the looming deadlines at work and the holiday family drama it all can become too much for a person to handle.

Recently I attended a children’s book fundraiser where I came across a book from my favorite series; the book was called “Llama Llama Holiday Drama” it would seem that even children are not immune to the stress of the holidays. Between the shopping and the parties we forget that the season is meant to be about family and community. It is this family/community that stress us out to the max. What do I give my mother-in-law? Will she ask yet again about my choice to go back to work? Will my sister comment on me being single, and haven’t I found a boyfriend yet?

This holiday season, I would like to remind you that often our family/community asks these questions because it is simply a way of making conversation, or sometimes they think it is a way of showing “care”. I find that so much “drama” can be avoided or managed through positive and healthy communication. One way to communicate in a healthy way is to give simple and concise answers – if you feel uncomfortable about the topic, you can say so or redirect the conversation to a topic that you find more agreeable. You can also remind yourself that you are in charge of the conversation and therefore you can navigate the conversation as you choose. Taking a few moments before answering a “hot topic” can give you the opportunity to choose the appropriate words and formulate your response. I call this the “take a breather” take the necessary 3 deep breaths before answering a really tough question.

One of the many reasons people find the holidays stressful is the “perfect gift” or the “perfect clean house for the perfect party” and they work themselves into a tizzy by adding more tasks to their “to-do” list. Remember to set realistic goals and to delegate. It’s not about perfection, it’s about managing stress – no, that person may not complete the task as perfectly as you but it is about learning to let go of some stress by allowing others to help you.

At the end of the day, whether you celebrate the holiday season with your biological family or a family made up of friends. This season is about remembering that you have a community, people who support you and are in your corner when you need them. Choose to share your time with those around you and remember that your presence in mind, body and spirit is the greatest gift of all!

To book an appointment with me call 403-454-7600 or email me at