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  1. Employee Resources
  2. News Room
  3. Managing Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress

Release Date: November 19, 2020

​The end-of-year holidays are joyous times filled with family, food, and comforting traditions. However, the holidays can also be stressful due to finances, family conflict, and pressure to create the ideal holiday experience. This year, we have the additional concern of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may change the way we celebrate. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in the coming weeks, changing the way you approach the holidays may make a big difference in helping you make the most of the holidays.

Here are some health, wellness, and financial tips to help you navigate this holiday season:

  • Celebrate safely. If you are planning to attend or host a family gathering this season, please follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Get support if you need it. The holidays can be an emotionally charged time. This time of year may be challenging if you are balancing personal, relationship, or family-related issues. Please know you are not alone, and it is okay to ask for help.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Financial advisors recommend that you spend no more than 1.5 percent of your annual income on holiday expenses. Consider creative ways to stretch that budget such as holding a gift exchange instead of buying gifts for everyone on your list, making handmade gifts, or checking out an alternative gift fair.
  • Give yourself permission to say no. Instead of going overboard trying to please others during the holidays, take care of yourself by assessing what you can realistically do and saying no to commitments beyond that threshold.
  • Enjoy holiday treats in moderation. Consider having a light, healthy snack before visiting holiday parties to avoid over-indulging.
  • Stick to your exercise routine. Not only is exercise a great stress reducer, it can also help you manage all the readily available holiday treats.
  • If you drink alcohol, pay attention to your consumption. Do not underestimate the effects of alcohol and always have a designated driver at events where you plan to consume alcohol.

Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help

If you are finding it hard to enjoy the holidays because of personal or financial stress, or due to continuing COVID pressures, contact your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Your EAP can provide financial, legal, and counseling services for you and your family. Your EAP can also provide you with no-cost counseling to help you cope with stress and get you back on track to enjoying this holiday season.

For more information or for help in contacting your EAP, write to your DHS Work-Life specialists at worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 11/19/2020
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