As the holiday season approaches, stress levels tend to escalate. Many people find that this time of year is not so “jolly” and coping can provide stressors.
Here are some ideas that may help you to better deal with these upcoming Holiday pressures.
• Don’t leave everything to the week before. Start now and set aside a little time every day to prepare for the holidays. Spacing out errands will help ease the pressure and reduce the likelihood of last-minute panic situations.

• Choose wisely on how best to spend your time. Work, personal and family obligations take up most of your day so be selective and only say “yes” to holiday invitations you really want to attend.

• Take it easy on yourself. Over doing it will only leave you exhausted and will take away the “jolly-ness” of the season. Treat yourself to some “me” time.

• Remember – family members can help. Children love being included and being part of the action.

• Watch the spending. Create a realistic budget for the season and honour it. • Ask family members to also set price limit on gifts and insist everyone stick it….or better yet give gifts to children only.

• Get some rest. This will help you cope with activities each day.

• Remember to make the daily chores leading up to ‘the big day’ fun too. Enjoy the time while you are planning and preparing and time spent with family and friends on the way to the holiday.

• Pay it forward. Giving of yourself to someone who does not expect it can be extremely rewarding. Some ideas could be to spend time with an elderly person, donate some food or gifts to the food bank or giving to those in need.

All too often, we tend to focus on the negative aspects of the holidays—the commercialism, the frantic pace at the shopping malls and the never-ending to-do list. Try focusing on the fun each day and turn the stress into positive and happy times.

If you feel that this time of year is getting the best of you, many group benefit programs have Employee Assistance Programs that can help facilitate ways to cope.

Common area where an EAP can help you and your family with include:
• Emotional and mental health
• Relationships and family
• Workplace concerns
• Work-life balance and stress
• Addictions
• Physical health and nutrition
• Career questions
• Child and eldercare
• Legal and financial concerns

Dawne Helischauer / Senior Benefits Specialist / PEO Canada