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5 Tips to Address Holiday Season Stress

With the holidays upon us, Burrell Behavioral Health’s team of experts offers some advice to consider that help us address the stress that comes with the season.

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Nov. 28, 2023

The holiday season often brings us reasons for joy, cause for celebration and opportunities to build and forge connections. But they can also present us with mile-long to-do lists, high expectations and stress. With the holidays upon us, Burrell Behavioral Health’s team of experts offers some advice to consider that help us address the stress that comes with the season.

  1. It’s okay to say no if we feel overwhelmed. Sometimes the obligations seem never-ending around this time of the year. But we don’t have to attend every party, event or dinner we’re invited to. Prioritizing our well-being and claiming some “me time” on our social calendar helps us be more present and engaged during the gatherings, or the “us time,” that we participate in. Is saying “no” to an event truly not an option? Build in “me time” before or after the event. That can go a long way in recharging our batteries.
  2. It’s okay if we feel lonely. Conversely, some of us can experience isolation during the holidays. Perhaps we don’t have family nearby or our close friends left town to visit loved ones. Whatever the case, there are ways to connect and find a sense of belonging during the holidays if the solitude feels isolating. Consider volunteering or seeking out an online group that shares a similar interest. And if we prefer to be alone at the holidays, recognize and honor that.
  3. It’s okay to end unwanted conversations. Sometimes an argument about a divisive subject or choices a loved one has made devolves into heated words. It could also be a one-sided conversation with a relative whose views aren’t open to constructive debate. When we find ourselves in such a situation, it may feel like there’s no escape. When a conversation is unhealthy or the timing is not right, it’s okay to step away from it. Ask to revisit the topic at a different time, leave the room or step outside.
  4. It’s okay to make time for sensory rest. Whether it’s scrolling through e-commerce deals, scouring online recipes for the best cornbread stuffing or comparing how our snowman measures up to the one our Facebook friends made, screen time doesn’t take a holiday unless we decide it has to. Try turning off phones and TVs and spending time outside either alone or with the people who recharge us. When we experience the outdoors with our people, we can focus on the sounds, sights, smells and feelings we find. This can help us connect with nature and one another, while thinking or talking about what we’re each going through.
  5. It’s okay to grieve those lost. When we are grieving the loss of someone dear to us, the holidays can be a time when the loss feels more pronounced. Consider setting aside time to pay tribute to those who are no longer here. Whether it’s through a toast, through journaling or by continuing or creating a tradition tied to our memory of them, we not only show our respect and gratitude for their presence in our lives but also find solace in the memories they left behind. We deserve grace as we navigate the holidays AND our grief.

Burrell Behavioral Health’s Be Well Initiatives team offers research-based guidance and support to help us best take care of ourselves. You are invited to join the Be Well Community, and you can find out about upcoming online gatherings on Burrell’s Facebook page and the Be Well Instagram account. On the Be Well Community website, our team offers free monthly self-care challenges and a trove of resources to help you on your wellness journey.

If you are concerned about your overall well-being or the well-being or a loved one, family, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Burrell Behavioral Health’s team has years of experience working successfully with clients of all ages to meet the behavioral health needs of kids and adults, no matter the season.

If you need to talk, you can call, text or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Line 24/7 to speak to trained counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal ideation, a substance use and/or mental health crisis or any other kind of emotional distress. Burrell also operates walk-in Behavioral Crisis Centers in Springfield and Columbia 24/7, 365 days a year.

We at Burrell Behavioral Health wish you a happy, healthy holiday season.

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24-Hour Crisis Line

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health or substance-use crisis, please call our toll-free 24-hour telephone line. Our team can help provide immediate assistance.

Southwest Missouri: 1-800-494-7355

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National Help Line: Call or Text 988