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Feeling cozy? Or, do the holidays bring you stress?

The holiday season can be time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, the holiday season can also be a time of great stress and anxiety. Whether you have strained family relationships, financial pressures, or simply get overwhelmed from the pace of the the holidays, at Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama, we understand. We specialize in Acceptance Commitment Therapy for anxiety counseling.

This year your holiday season does not have to be filled with stress and anxiety like all of your past holidays!

Empower Counseling provides ten helpful tips to reduce your holiday stress and anxiety while helping you actually enjoy the season.

You can have a calm and happy holiday season by doing some easy things and looking after yourself. This article will give you ten easy ways to make the holidays less stressful. 

To start, let’s grasp the effect of holiday stress on our mental health and its causes.

a stressed out woman during the holidays

Recognizing the Impact of Holiday Stress on Mental Health

Holiday stress and anxiety can take a toll on your mental well-being. The pressure to buy gifts and attend every holiday get together with friends and family, can cause anxiety, sadness, and exhaustion. On the other hand not having get togethers to go to or people to buy for can cause loneliness, anxiety, and depression. No matter what stressful position you find yourself in this season, we are here for you.

Reducing holiday stress is essential to ensure that you can enjoy the festive season. Empower Counseling offers a range of strategies to help you manage holiday stress.

The stress of the holidays can affect our bodies and minds in different ways. Signs of stress include headaches, tense muscles, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. Stress can cause anxiety, depression, irritability, trouble concentrating, and exhaustion.

Empower Counseling offers ten effective ways to reduce holiday stress and anxiety that are easy to follow

Set Realistic Expectations:

Empower Counseling wants to remind everyone that it’s really important to not expect too much during the holidays. Sometimes, we think we have to make everything perfect, and that can make us feel really stressed. Perfectionism is what kills fun. Think about it. Have you ever spent the weeks leading up to the holidays with a very clear picture of exactly what you wanted yours to look like? Spending too much time and too much money on the perfects gifts, perfect food……the perfect everything, just to feel underappreciated or disappointed? This year, dial it down a little and see what happens. Focus on what you want to get out of the holiday instead of how everything must look, and let me know what happens. The key to a perfect holiday is having realistic expectations and not sweating the small stuff.

A woman engaging in self car

Prioritize Self-Care

The holiday season can be taxing. Empower Counseling recommends taking time for self-care. This can include relaxing and doing activities that make you happy. Taking care of yourself is important for your mental health. This can include reading, relaxing in a bath, or practicing mindfulness. If you suffer from anxiety, the holidays is not the time to stop exercising. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season crowd out the things that help keep your mind and body healthy.

a financially stressed couple/ reduce holiday stress/ Empower Counseling/ Anxiety Counseling

Budget Wisely

Worrying about money during the holidays can make you feel beyond stressed. Empower Counseling suggests that it’s a good idea to create a special plan for your holiday spending and make sure you follow it. To save money, you can make a plan that shows how much you want to spend or try to find gifts and ways to have fun that don’t cost too much. You could make your gifts this year. Do you have a recipe that everyone loves? Bake those cookies, and make that candy! Another way to approach holiday spending is to plan ahead for next year. Create a list of those you buy for and the amount you want to spend on each. Each month just buy a gift or two. Then when the holidays roll around you have more to spend on yummy food and sparkling beverages.

Time Management:

Managing your time is really important to help you feel less stress and anxiety during the holidays. Empower Counseling recommends that you create a plan or schedule to help you find the right balance between your work, spending time with your family, and having some time just for yourself.

To make things easier and not get too stressed out, it’s a good idea to decide which things are most important and ask for help when you need it. This way, you can enjoy the holidays without feeling too overwhelmed. When you receive an invitation to a holiday gathering, do not automatically say yes to the invite. Think about who will be there, how long it will last, and what is already on your calendar. If during the rest of the year you never go out more than once a week, do not say “yes” to 5 holiday gatherings in a week. Be selective. Say “yes” only to the invites you would really look forward to.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful tool for reducing stress and enhancing general well-being. According to Empower Counseling, think about good things in your life when you wake up or go to bed. Doing this can make you feel happier and less worried during the holidays. Practicing gratitude also helps us to not get too caught up in the tiny details and helps us stay focused on the big picture.

Guests at a holiday party smiling

Limit Social Commitments

So we mentioned this under the time management tip but it is worth mentioning again. During the holidays, it’s okay to choose not to go to too many parties. When you are debating whether to accept an invitation think about the effort that will go into getting ready, driving to and from, and whether or not you will indulge in alcoholic beverages. Remember that alcohol affects the quality of our sleep. If you are attending parties frequently, your sleep, and therefore, your health will suffer. Compromising your sleep leaves you vulnerable to sickness and exhaustion. You can not enjoy what is left of the holidays if you are in either of those states.

holiday cookies

Healthy Eating and Exercise

Empower Counseling stresses the need to eat well and stay active during the holidays. Physical health is closely linked to mental well-being. Adding healthy meals and exercise during the holidays can lower stress levels. Especially if you have anxiety, getting some of that energy out through movement of your body, should decrease the level of anxiety in your mind.

Delegate Responsibilities

You don’t have to do everything on your own during the holiday season. The holidays can make you feel stressed when you try to do everything on your own. Empower Counseling understands this. Are there some holiday foods you can pick up rather than cook? Can you buy for multiple loved ones at the same store? Can you divide up your to-do list with other members of your family?

Delegating will reduce your stress level stress and cut down on any resentment you would normally feel about others because you did it all yourself.

family celebrating Hanukkah

Connect with Loved Ones to Reduce Holiday Stress

Holidays can be a  great time to be with family and make happy memories. They can also be stressful and bring up family issues. Let go of the word “obligation”. Think about what is best for you this year. Set clear boundaries based on what is important to you during the holiday season. Make sure to communicate openly as well. Taking a proactive approach can help make sure the holiday season is joyful for everyone.

If in this season you do not have loved ones around, find other ways to feel connected with others. Offer to deliver meals on wheels on Christmas. You will be thanked by incredibly grateful people and feel good about yourself. If that is not your thing, think of another group of people that needs help- whether it’s ringing the bell for Salvation Army or donating to a warming shelter. Doing things for others make us feel good about who we are and will help keep the loneliness at bay.

Seek Professional Help

If holiday stress is too much and affects your mental health, Empower Counseling says it’s a good time to get help. A therapist can help you with your anxiety, stress, and depression, and teach you how to cope better. We specialize in anxiety counseling. Each of our licensed counselors have training in ACT for anxiety.

Empower counseling advises you to use these simple ways to have a better holiday season. It will be less stressful and more enjoyable. Don’t forget, it’s fine to ask for help and support when you need it. Taking care of your mental health is important for a joyful and healthy holiday season.

The Benefits of Professional Support in Birmingham, AL During The Holiday Season: Reduce Holiday Stress Now

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration for many, but it can also be a source of stress and overwhelm. This is where the benefits of professional support during the holidays become evident.

During the holidays, therapists or counselors can improve how you feel, how you experience your holidays, and how you interact with others.

At Empower Counseling we practice Acceptance Commitment Therapy for anxiety counseling. ACT is a scientifically proven effective method for treating, anxiety, depression, trauma, and difficult times in life. Through ACT, our counselors, Kathryn, Marti, and Savannah will help you find clarity about how you want your holiday season to look and feel. Then we can help you take action toward your vision. Through ACT we can help guide you to a clear picture of how you want to spend your time and effort during the holidays. We can help you navigate difficult relationships and set boundaries to protect yourself.

During the holidays, we can also help those who are grieving or lonely find a sense of purpose and fulfillment. During this time of year, it can be hard to join in the celebrations if we feel sad and lonely.

Families with complicated dynamics or strained relationships can make you dread the holiday season. This year handling your holidays differently by seeing a counselor at Empower Counseling.

Finally, the benefits of professional support during the holidays are numerous and impactful. They encompass emotional well-being, grief support, time management, and conflict resolution.

The holiday season can be less stressful and more enjoyable with help from experts. They can also find more happiness and meaning during this special time of year.

lights in the background of lanterns

Why Start Therapy in Birmingham Before The Holiday Season? Reduce Holiday Stress Before it Starts

The holiday season can be a stressful time for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for people who have experienced trauma. The holidays can trigger trauma-related memories and symptoms, making it difficult to enjoy the season.

If you are considering trauma therapy, it is a good idea to start before the holiday season. This will give you enough time to start processing your experiences and developing coping skills. It will also help you to be more prepared for the challenges of the holiday season.

● Preparedness for Triggers: By beginning therapy before the holiday season, individuals can equip themselves with coping strategies to manage potential triggers and navigate family gatherings or other holiday-related events.

● Establishing a Supportive Routine: Starting therapy early helps in establishing a routine of attending sessions and incorporating healing practices into daily life, promoting stability and resilience.

● Building a Therapeutic Relationship: Initiating therapy early allows individuals to build a strong therapeutic relationship with their therapist, fostering trust and comfort essential for effective trauma processing.

● Improved Emotional Well-being: Engaging in trauma therapy before the holiday season can lead to improved emotional well-being, setting a positive tone for the upcoming festivities.

holiday party/ guests clinking wine glasses

How Empower Counseling Can Help You Reduce Holiday Stress

At Empower Counseling, we specialize in trauma-related issues, anxiety, and depression. With our team of  knowledgeable licensed counselors, we aim to support your journey toward better mental health.

Founded with the vision of providing a safe and non-judgmental space for our clients, Empower Counseling prioritizes the well-being and empowerment of each person seeking assistance:

1. Highly Qualified Counselors: At Empower Counseling, we boast highly trained and qualified counselors specializing in various therapeutic modalities whose expertise allows them to provide a comprehensive approach to trauma treatment.

2. Empower Counseling adopts a holistic approach that addresses trauma’s emotional, psychological, and behavioral aspects.

3. Personalized Care: Every client’s journey is unique at Empower Counseling. The counselors take the time to understand your concerns and goals, tailoring therapy sessions to suit your individual needs.

4. Anxiety counselling at Empower provides valuable coping strategies for challenging situations. These strategies address trauma symptoms and promote resilience in the face of future stressors.

5. Positive Mindset Cultivation: One of the key aspects of counselling at Empower is cultivating a positive and growth-oriented mindset. This helps build self-confidence and fosters a greater sense of self-worth.

6. Empower Counseling ensures privacy and unbiased support, offering you a safe space to openly express your feelings without fearing judgment.

A stress-free holiday season is possible!

Empower yourself to have a stress-free holiday season by implementing these ten strategies. Remember that the holidays can be a time of joy, and with the right approach, you can reduce stress and make the most of this special time of year.

So, take a deep breath, make self-care number one on your list, and enjoy the holiday with a sense of calmness.

Think of therapy like going on an adventure with a helper. When you find the right helper, you can work together to become a better and happier you.

Spending time on the front end of your therapist search is crucial to your success in therapy. Trust in your therapist is a significant indicator of success, so finding the right one is of utmost importance.

1. Reach out to Empower Counseling and schedule your initial appointment.

2. Get acquainted with your therapist.

3. Embark on your journey towards personal growth and success.

For more information about counselling services offered by Empower Counseling and Coaching, click here to learn more.

We offer anxiety counseling all year long, as well as, depression counseling, counseling for perfectionism, trauma and PTSD counseling, and therapy for difficult life transitions. At our Mountain Brook office we see teens, college students, young adults, and professionals. Don’t worry if you live outside of the Birmingham area. We offer online counseling across the state of Alabama.

If you want to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact Empower Counseling today.

Here are other interesting blog posts for you:

What Trauma Therapy In Birmingham, Alabama, Can Do For You

How To Overcome Self-Criticism With Acceptance Commitment Therapy: Counseling In Birmingham

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