Surviving Holiday Stress
in a Bad Economy
Holiday Stress by the Numbers
• American Psychological Association Survey
• Lack of money 61%
• Pressure of gift giving 42%
• Lack of time 34%
• Credit card debt 23%
• Affect on physical health 36%
– Eating 22% Alcohol 14%
People turn to what they know
• Understand the causes of stress
• Recognize stress signals
• Learn tips and strategies to reduce
• Develop strategies to manage work and
• Learn how to take care of yourself
Why are the holidays so stressful?
• Shorter, darker days
• Unrealistic expectations
• Increased social obligations
• Increased spending
What Causes Stress?
• There are two common types of stress:
– External Stressors- environmental factors
– Internal Stressors- Specific behaviors, traits
or lifestyle choices.
– Which one causes you the most stress?
How Stressed Are You?
• Do I often feel out of control?
• Do I feel constant pressure to achieve?
• Do I have difficulty concentrating?
• Do I have feelings of guilt, panic, or anxiety?
• Do I have difficulty falling or staying asleep?
• Do I suffer from frequent headaches/backaches?
• Do I feel unusually tired?
• Do I cry or feel the desire to cry often?
• Do I feel faint or dizzy for no apparent reason?
• Do I grind my teeth at night?
• Do I regularly feel the need to smoke or have a drink to calm
• Do I snap at people or get frustrated with simple things lately?
• Do I feel tightness in my chest or experience shortness of breath
Stress & Its Effects
• High blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Neck and back pain
• More frequent colds
• Weight gain/loss
• Sexual dysfunction
Stress & Its Effects
• Being irritable
• Getting angry easily
• Lack of energy
• Increased drinking
• Disturbed sleep/
• Over/under eating
• Using drugs
• Abnormal risk taking
• Define your goals
• Make time to relax
• Establish a support system
• Express your feelings
• Don’t over commit
• Focus on problem solving
• Realize you are not perfect
• Let go of the guilt
• Don’t be afraid to say NO!
• Laugh often
• Practice relaxation techniques
• Think positive
How To Manage Stress
• Identify your stressors
• Know how you react
• Learn techniques to deal with stress
• Integrate stress management into your
Managing you Time
• Set priorities and let go of impossible goals
– Take a serious look at your calendar through
– Be realistic about how much you can do
• Rest when your body tells you to
– Fatigue and tension can affect your mood and ability
to get things done
– Try to keep your regular sleep pattern
• Stop to enjoy the fruits of your labor
– If you don’t, you just might feel drained and
Identify Important Things
• Identify your values
• Set goals
• Establish priorities
• Remember to take “Me Time”
• Remember the holidays are once a year
but family is forever.
• Body Scan – “relax-let go”
• Deep breathing
• Anticipate problems
• Be assertive
• Be decisive
• Balance work and personal time
Stress Management Plan
• Identify Stressors
• Determine your reactions
• Techniques currently used
• Techniques to add or change
• Stick to your plan
Some Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress
• Decide on a budget and stick to it.
• Spend time with family at home.
• Arrange for secret Santa or create a new
• Have some free holiday fun- walking
downtown, driving around looking at lights,
making your own decorations.
Something To Think About….
• Remember that holidays are about making
memories for you and your family. Your
children will look back fondly on this time
and not because of the amount you spent
on their gift or how perfect their dress was,
but because as a family you enjoyed each
other. Happy Holidays!
If You Need Further Assistance…
• REACH 556-2506/ 556-1380
– Available 24/7 by phone or in person 5 days
– Can assist with financial resources,
referrals or other supports.
– Free to all UC employees and their family
– Always confidential and compassionate.