How to deal with stress during the holidays

How to deal with stress during the holidays

For many of us, the upcoming holiday festivities mean bouts of anxiety. Whether it be stressful travel, uncomfortable questions from our nosy relatives, and being in close quarters with family who doesn’t always get along, the holidays aren't always as relaxing as they're cut out to be. Our team here at Stix pulled together our most frustrating holiday moments, as well as some ideas for how to cope with them.

Read on so you can enjoy your pumpkin pie in peace this year!

1. “So… when are you getting married and/or having a baby?”

When your nosy family members feel the need to dig into your personal life while sitting at a holiday dinner, it can be incredibly stressful. Here are a few ideas to help you handle inappropriately intimate questions.

  • Crack a joke. “Aunt Judy, are you asking if we’re having unprotected sex?”
  • Change the topic abruptly so they get the hint. “Did you know that 675 million pounds of turkey are eaten every Thanksgiving in the US?”
  • Try extreme honesty to turn the tables and see how they like it. “Yes, in fact we tried about an hour ago before dinner. Everyone cross your fingers!” This is guaranteed to teach 'em a lesson.

2. “Did you hear [insert wildly polarizing political opinion here]...”

Family members often don’t see eye-to-eye on political issues, and the holidays can be a pressure cooker for high tensions. 
  • Ask questions. Take the opportunity to talk in person with someone who has opposing beliefs, if you can both remain calm through the conversation.
  • Look for common ground. Find something you can agree on (and then change the topic to that!)
  • Find a moment for yourself. Go for a walk, offer to run an errand, or play fetch with the dog. You don’t need to be in the midst of it all for every minute of every day.

3. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re sorry to inform you that your flight has been cancelled.”

The roads, the train stations, and airports are all packed as everyone is trying to make their way home in time for the holidays. You’re pretty much guaranteed a hiccup or a delay in your holiday travel plans, so be prepared. Tensions will probably be running high for everyone.
  • Pack extra goodies to help you relax: a neck pillow, a face mask, essential oils, a coloring book, snacks, and of course, an extra pack of Stix pregnancy tests for your peace of mind!
  • Print out or take screenshots/photos of your important documents: passport, driver’s license, airplane ticket, rental reservation, and hotel reservations.
  • Download travel apps that will help you plan ahead (and be notified of delays) like Google Trips, Tripit, and your airline’s app.

4. If you’re in the early days of pregnancy and not ready to share with your extended family...

If you’re worried they will suspect something if you’re not drinking, try one of the following: 
  • “I’m on medication that can’t mix with alcohol!” If they push you on it, just tell them you'd rather not share. Or, when in doubt, a simple white lie saying you're recovering from strep throat will do the trick.
  • “I’m trying this new fad diet that I can’t wait to tell you all about.”
  • Fake it! Mix yourself drinks when nobody is watching and skip the alcohol.
No matter your situation, the holidays are bound to bring up stressful moments.  One of our favorite sayings to cope with family stress is, "You can't control how people will act, only how you will react."

With that said, be gentle with yourself and remember to breathe through it all.

What are your most stressful holiday moments? How do you deal? Let us know in the comments!

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