10 Dec Holiday Stressors and Financial Balance
By Maha Souman, B.A.
Top holiday stressors and how to cope with them
As the holiday season begins to approach, another layer of stress can begin to form to our already hectic schedules. The holidays can be stressful for a variety of reasons and can bring their own set of pressures and difficulties. Some of us experience that holiday stress in the form of family gatherings, travel, lack of time and energy, the pressure of giving and receiving gifts, as well as financial burdens and difficulties. In response to these stressors, some of us can feel nervous or sad, fatigued, a lack of motivation and energy, and even muscular tension. And in order to manage these stressful situations, we turn to common coping mechanisms such as self-medicating, isolating, neglecting our needs, and can begin experiencing communication difficulties. To better cope with these stressors, you might want to try asking for help this holiday season rather than shaming yourself, avoid comparing yourself to others, taking time off rather than pushing yourself, listening to music or podcasts rather than overthinking, and celebrating your small wins rather than negative self talk.
Making boundaries and sticking to them
Another thing to consider this holiday season is setting boundaries to limit your stressors. In order to set direct boundaries with those around you, you must be clear and specific, as well firm and direct without negotiating and apologizing. The boundaries you set can be physical, emotional, financial, a belief system that you may have and your valuable time.
Tips to handle guilt-trip traps
Guilt trips are very common during the holiday season and typically will present themself as a result of excessive feelings of guilt or someone making you feel guilty in order to induce you to do something. How can you recognize a guilt trip? Look for signs that can be in the form of comments suggesting that you have not done as much work as they have done, or bringing up mistakes that you have made in the past and reminding you of favors they have performed for you in the past, acting as if they are angry but then denying that there is a problem, or refusing to speak to you or giving you the silent treatment, and even suggesting that you “owe” them. These forms of guilt can leave you feeling angry or resentful, experiencing low self-esteem or pressure, becoming self-critical, and even being in a low mood. In order to respond to this kind of guilt in a manner that will benefit you, try asking for clarification, showing understanding and asking for understanding in return, be direct that you feel a sense of pressure and/or do not want to build resentment, and if possible offer an alternative.
Keeping your finances in order
According to the APA, finances are one of the top stressors during the holiday season. To help reduce stress related to your finances, some things to considering in prioritizing your finances include:
- Building savings for good and bad opportunities
- Having a solid long-term plan for achieving your financial goals
- Protecting yourself and your family financially if you die or are unable to work or are involved in a lawsuit
Having good financial habits today can allow you to have a stronger understanding of how and where to save, have a diverse set of growth and protection solutions to address your financial needs, live within your means & have healthy attitudes about money that are long-term focused, and put you on track to be more financially confident & help you to realize greater satisfaction.