Though most people consider the holiday season to be a wonderful time that brings peace, harmony and joy to everyone involved, the various expectations and pressures that lurk behind seasonable events can leave most of us feeling overwhelmed and nervous. If you are the person in charge of hosting family events, entertaining friends, and preparing for seasonal celebrations, then the pressure will quickly mount up. If the holiday season has started to tie you up in knots, then it’s time to overcome the stresses associated with keeping up with expectations and start looking after yourself instead. Here are some tips on how to fight back against low holiday moods.

Battling Against Stress

When the stress of the festive season has gotten on top of you, it’s difficult to regroup and rethink your strategy. The best thing you can do is try to stop your risk of overwhelming stress to begin with. The following tips could help.

1. Acknowledge whatever emotions you’re having. If you can’t be with the people you love most during the holidays, or something else has gone wrong for you this year, remember that it’s normal to feel sad. It’s okay to express your feelings and you shouldn’t have to pretend to be happy because a particular date dictates it.

2. Reach out to other people if you start to feel overwhelmed, lonely or isolated. Looking for community in family and friends is a great way to get companionship and support during the holiday season. You can even volunteer some of your time to help the less fortunate if you want to do something good for others this year.

3. Try to be realistic about your goals and what you’re going to be able to achieve this year. The holidays do not have to be absolutely perfect, and it’s important to remember that if you had a great time last year, everything does not have to be exactly the same this year. As people grow and change, holiday rituals can change as well. It’s a good idea to hold on to a few things, but be open to creating new rituals too. For example, if your children, who have moved away from home, can’t come to you this Christmas, find new ways to be together through emails, videos and pictures.

4. Set aside your differences and try to accept your friends and family members for who they are, even if they let you down in some way, or fail to live up to your expectations. Holidays are not the right time for hashing out all of your problems with members of your family. Try to be understanding of the people you love during this period, and remember that they could be feeling the effects of holiday stress themselves.

5. Don’t be afraid of saying “no.” Friends and family will understand if you can’t participate in absolutely every seasonal event. If you can’t say “no” when someone asks you to work overtime, try to make up for the lost time by rearranging your schedule.