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Human Resources

December: Coping with Holiday Stress

10 Keys to Creating Healthy Holidays

Seasonal Goals

  • Identify the main sources of holiday stress
  • Identify ways to manage holiday stress and make healthy choices
  • Develop (and later put into practice) a plan for ensuring a healthier, happier holiday

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #1

  • Let go of unrealistic expectations:
    – Can’t recreate the past
    – Can’t have perfect holidays 

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #2

  • Acknowledge and express feelings honestly
  • Give yourself permission to feel common feelings, like sadness from prior losses such as divorce, deaths, separation; anxiety, dread, pressures

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #3

  • If you tend to isolate yourself, keep busy
    – Invite others to get together
    – Be proactive, not reactive

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #4

  • Re-evaluate your traditions because they might be too stressful or time consuming

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #5

  • Don’t expect extended-family problems to disappear just because it’s the holiday season
    – Reduce the amount of time you plan to spend with difficult family members
    – Let go of past conflicts and resentments
    – Learn to forgive
    – Balance your own needs with your family’s needs

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #6

  • Prepare for the extra intensity
    – Eliminate stressful or unnecessary activities and chores
    – Take quiet times to be rejuvenated

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #7

  • Nurture yourself
    – Do something special for yourself

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #8

  • If you are struggling with loneliness or loss:
    – Go to a place where you can find support and encouragement
    – Volunteer. Helping others can take the focus off one’s own pain

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #9

  • Be careful about over-indulging
  • Eat, drink and spend in moderation
    – Stick to nonalcoholic drinks
    – Get more exercise
    – Attend more events without food
    – Set spending limits

Creating Healthy Holidays: Key #10

  • Remind yourself of the true meaning of the holidays
    – Focus on what is most important about the holidays
    – Beware of excessive commercialism

**Information taken from Cigna's website at