3 Tips to help you manage the extra stress this holiday season

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To cope with the stress the holiday season brings, Makenzie Peterson, MSc gives 3 key tips you can use to make the holiday season a little less stressful.

Now that we are in the home stretch of the holiday season, the emotional toll that holidays can have on people is starting to also reach its peak. With last-minute gift shopping, holiday decorating, seeing family and friends, or adding last-minute party details, the joy of the holidays can turn sour quickly.

In a recent episode of the Medical World News program Wellbeing Checkup, Makenzie Peterson, MSc, the first director of wellbeing for the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), provided insight for managing holiday stress.

“How do [the holidays] not [effect wellbeing]? I say that in a variety of ways right like holidays can amplify wellbeing, impact wellbeing, impact positive and negative on all sides. For some, the holidays are a wonderful time, they deepen our connections with our families, our traditions, and our spirituality,” says Mackenzie Peterson, MSc.

“For some, the holidays are a difficult reminder that we live in really complicated times and living complicated lives. There is estranged family relationships, there is divorce, there’s lose, financial insecurity at a time where people seem to have to have a lot of presents. There is depression, there’s addiction, [the holidays] bring up a lot of memories for folks,” she continued.

Peterson also provided these 3 tips for getting through the holidays season:

1. Take a social media break

Peterson’s first tip on fighting holiday stress is to take a social media break from Thanksgiving until the new year. According to Peterson, we do not live our lives in a Hallmark movie, so the break on social media can help you avoid feeling down or comparing yourself to other people’s holiday pictures.

“There is no need to hurt your own feelings [by] scrolling through curated filtered images of other people’s seemingly perfect holidays, right? Don’t hurt your own feelings, just take the social media break and call it a day,” she reiterated.

2. Reach out to people you want to see

Peterson cautions us those feelings of isolation are not the same as spending time alone. She urges veterinary professionals who are feeling isolated to make plans to see people that you want to see.

“Schedule coffee, schedule lunch, schedule drinks, schedule something. Something that helps you really positively connect with those you want to set time with,” Peterson said

3. Set boundaries

During the holidays, it is okay to set boundaries. Let friends and family know that there are certain things you do not wish to talk about. As an example, Peterson said, if you got recently divorced and someone asks you about it, say “there is not really anything to share” and then change the subject. You do not have to talk to anyone about anything you do not want to discuss or do not feel comfortable speaking about.

Peterson also said that setting boundaries for holiday parties and whether you are seeing people at all is another way to help with wellbeing.

“If you do not want to pack your calendar social events, RSVP ‘no thank you but thank you for thinking of me’ and then do not think twice about it,” Peterson.

To view this episode of Wellbeing Checkup online, visit medicalworldnews.com/view/wellbeing-checkup-mental-wellbeing-for-the-holidays.

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