5 ways to combat stress this holiday season

Yes, the holidays are festive and fun… but also you have to admit they can be SUPER STRESSFUL.

From the decorations to the gift-giving, travel, added expense, and socializing, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year… and the craziest time of year.

Add in final exams and saying goodbye to friends who are leaving to go abroad, and it can be a very emotional time of year.

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Before you do a 180 from merry to cranky and overwhelmed this month, here are five common holiday season stress points—and tactics to combat them.

1. Having trouble finding the perfect gift on a budget?

Amazon is your safe-haven for giving the best gifts for the best prices. It has unlimited items that are not offered in the typical department store, and you can compare prices of different vendors.

Pro Tip: If you forgot to get someone a gift in your group of friends, tell them their gift is coming in the mail… which is true, once you order it!

2.  Final exams got you down?

In between your trips to the library, try to find some time to just relax at home with your roommates. Make paper snowflakes, drink some hot cocoa, and watch your favorite holiday movie. A little holiday cheer with friends can have a really relaxing effect. My roomies and I just put our Christmas tree up and it makes our apartment so much warmer and enjoyable to spend time in, even if we’re doing less-than-enjoyable things, like writing an annotated bibliography or folding laundry or packing.

3. Low on cash for presents? 

Try selling items that you own but haven’t touched in years. Websites like ebay, Craigslist, and Poshmark let you sell your used clothes online for a profit. You would be amazed how much quick cash you can make on things just sitting around your house. Over Thanksgiving break, I was able to sell a pile of sweaters that I hadn’t worn in two seasons for $50, and add my earnings to my gift-giving funds.

4. Not sure exactly who to buy for? 

At a school like Loyola, where everyone practically knows everyone else and considers so many good friends, sometimes it can be hard to decipher who to buy a gift for.

Solution: Write up a bunch of cute holiday cards and keep a stock of candy canes to give out to people around campus who you know and are friendly with. It’s truly the thought that counts during this season, and this is a nice way to show people what they mean to you without breaking the bank or adding to-dos to your already long list.

5. Stressed out by travel plans?

The key to traveling smartly is planning ahead. Try to pack early and arrive early so that the stress doesn’t get to you and you have the time to make a change if you have to. Download or print all tickets and put them in an easy-to-access place. Charge your phone and any electronics before you go so you can communicate or work while you travel. And bring water and a snack.

If you are driving, consider carpooling with another student. So many Loyola students live in proximity to one another in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. You can pre-arrange pickup points on the highway or a rest stop with parents. This way, you have a travel companion and can share the cost of tolls and gas. This is also a great way to help out a younger student (and their parents!) and meet someone new, both nice things to do during this time of year.

Do your best not to get stuck in holiday traffic by leaving at a time of day when you know rush hour will be a factor. If you are flying, get to the airport early in case of a gate change; if you taking a train or a bus, get to the station early so that you can find the right pick-up point.

Most importantly, remember the reason for the season! Show love your family and friends and give thanks for the time you get to spend with those you love. Happy holidays, Greyhounds!

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