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5 Ways To Develop Emotional Resilience During The Holiday Season

Written by: Kamil Shah, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


The holiday season is here! By now, a lot of us are already busy with the many tasks and things to check off our ‘to do’ list. Buying presents, decorating the house, planning the trips and many more things. As we all know too well, the end of the year can be one of the most stressful times for many of us. Some interesting statistics is worth noting.

According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people are stressed because they feel they have a “lack of time,” 69 percent are stressed because they feel they “lack money,” and 51 percent are stressed because they feel the “pressure to give or get gifts.” These are staggering statistics! If you think about it, for a specific time of the year, our collective stress levels rise to unimaginable heights.

So how do we manage our health and wellbeing over this ‘stressful’ period? Here are 5 steps which can help you navigate through this challenging period so that you can hopefully enjoy the holidays, rather than dread it.

1. Spend Within Your Means

This sounds obvious but we all face the same challenges when it comes to managing our finances. The temptation of online sales, thinking about the many people that you think you have to get a present for, or even treating yourself to some new gadgets.

Of course, everyone is doing it, so why not spend a little? That’s not to say that there is anything against spending and treating others, especially during the holiday season. There will be people that you haven’t met for a long time because of lockdown, those people that you love or even those who you’d want to make peace with. These are all good intentions. In fact, spending in such a way that is helping other people, for example by giving to charity, is an excellent way to help yourself amplify positive energy by focusing on helping others. However, spending in such a way that is outwith your means can put you in financial challenges later on. Easy access to purchases now can put us in trouble later.

One of the ways to get around this is to develop a mindful spending habit. We know this right, but why do we keep falling into the same trap?

Before making any big purchases, ask yourself some of these questions:

  1. Do I need this?

  2. Does it align with my intention or what is my intention in buying this?

  3. Will it place me in a tight spot financially later on?

The last question is one of the most important ones because if it will place you in a difficult financial situation later on, then it should be avoided until you have the means to make that purchase.

Another trick is to make purchases using cash. Somehow this can be effective in limiting spending. Having to go through the hassle of withdrawing money from the cash machine and actually being able to see it physically can help you keep track of your money much easier than using your credit card or apple pay.

2. Manage Your Time

Here is another obvious tip but not easily practiced especially during this time of year, and that is to manage your time. Obvious right?

You may already have day-to-day responsibilities like work, family, errands, chores and socializing with friends. Added to this will be the pressure you may feel to spend time doing festive things. Remember we all get the same 24 hours but additional things on the list like shopping for presents, meeting up with friends, preparing and decorating the household may pose added stress in your life.

Prioritizing the things that matter most can help you manage your precious time during this festive season. There is no time machine (well not just yet!) so we have to manage it within what we’ve been given, which is 24 hours.

As Matthew Kelly writes eloquently in his book ‘The Long View’:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month.”

Take the time to assess what is important and either delegate or remove those which are not.

Most importantly, schedule in ‘me time’ and give yourself the time you deserve.

3. Manage Expectations

Another valuable tip is to manage your expectations of the situation and of other people. We sometimes feel pressured to reciprocate what others do or give at this time of year. The presents, the dinner parties, the meetups. It can all add up to the unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves. We may feel the need to reciprocate what others buy for us, or the need to do (or in some cases outdo) the dinner parties.

On the other hand, we may feel disappointed when others do not reciprocate what we’ve bought or do. We may feel hurt and come up with stories like ‘that person doesn’t love me enough’ or ‘I’m not important enough in their lives.’ Having these kinds of comparisons and second-guessing what other people think about us or feel towards us can lead to unnecessary anxiety for ourselves.

Rather than place expectations on people or on the situation, try to focus on accepting them as they are. Different people have different circumstances. Therefore, understanding that what you give and get is enough, will help remove the unnecessary burden during this time of year.

4. Enjoy The Moment

Things will get busy with finishing off work, rushing the school plays or meeting up with friends, off to do the shopping and many other things on our to-do-list.

Take a moment for yourself from time to time. Enjoy the magical presence that this festive season brings. That warm fuzzy feeling in the air. The music, the food, the smells (and even the snow if you are fortunate enough to have it where you live!).

We sometimes get so caught up in rushing to do our to-do list that we forget to enjoy these small moments which add up to a wonderful experience. So if you can, try to slow things down and enjoy the moment.

5. Talk It Out

The final tip to developing emotional resilience during the holiday season is to ‘talk it out’.

Loneliness is one of the major issues faced by many people during the holiday season. We may feel that we don’t want to talk about our problems because other people may judge us or that we may appear weak to others.

Statistics show that over one-third of people are too embarrassed to admit that they are lonely during the holiday season, and that millennials are twice as likely to suffer from loneliness as the elderly is during this time.

We sometimes forget that what we are experiencing is most likely experienced by many other people. When we share our common experiences, it can sometimes help us find solutions to whatever challenges we are facing.

  • Firstly, it reduces the stress related to the feeling that we are the only one’s experiencing it.

  • Secondly, it starts the process of relieving the internal pressure that may be building up within us when we share our experiences with others. It can even sometimes feel like the heavyweight on your shoulders is gone!

  • Lastly, sharing your challenges with others can sometimes help you answer some of the questions that have been troubling you.

  • It also gives an opportunity to reconnect with our friends and family that we may have lost contact with for a long time.

So, hopefully you find these tips useful in helping you become emotionally resilient during these holidays. Don’t forget to share it with someone who might find it useful and have an amazing time!

I hope it will make an impression on you as it did on me.

For more details, follow me on Facebook or Instagram and visit my website.


Kamil Shah, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Coming from a professional background in design, Kamil previously practiced in both the Education & Corporate Sectors. One life-changing event in his 20s saw Kamil's life plummet from having a progressing career in design, to living on $2 a day virtually overnight. This painful experience has taught him valuable lessons in Life, which he has used advantageously in regaining his feet and ultimately achieving Personal and Professional Success. He now shares his experience and knowledge in helping others achieve their own success through bringing on their own Personal Genius.



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