Tips to manage holiday stress

  • Published
  • By Jessica L. Kendziorek
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The holiday season is a time for celebrations, family, and friends, but can also be a stressful time of year.

From finances to anticipating family conflicts, and everything in between, the holidays are overwhelming for many people.

According to Katie Coffman, 403rd Wing’s director of psychological health, research from the American Psychological Association shows that 44% of women and 31% of men report higher stress levels during the holidays. Those stress statistics increase to 64% for people who are suffering from mental illness.

With the additional pressure of the holidays, it is most beneficial for Airmen and their families to create a balance of their work, social and family lives, said Coffman.

“It can be helpful for people to set realistic expectations and share their family responsibilities,” she said, adding that stress occurs when people do not have the time, resources, or knowledge of how to handle a situation. “Reducing stress can start by setting boundaries and not being afraid to say no when it comes to social gatherings that don’t fit your schedule.”

Other management techniques include being able to accept imperfection, setting a budget, using a support network, exercising, and eating a nutritious diet, added Coffman.

“It is important to focus on what you can control, give yourself some positive reinforcement, and don’t forget to just take time out for you.”

Military OneSource provides tips for keeping stress to a minimum. Amongst many resources, they offer confidential support and connection to non-medical counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to online support, Airmen can reach out to someone in their support network, the chaplain, the first sergeant and the DPH.