Facebook LinkedIn PinterestRSS Instagram Twitter Vine careerplus-badges careerplus-degree Created with Sketch. careerplus-employers Created with Sketch. careerplus-faq Created with Sketch. careerplus-individuals Created with Sketch. careerplus-local-experts Created with Sketch. careerplus-pricing careerplus-registration Created with Sketch. careerplus-responsive Created with Sketch. careerplus-self-paced Created with Sketch. careerplus-stackable Created with Sketch.

Welcome to Clarke University! Together, we will cultivate new ways of delivering the Clarke experience supporting each other and our community. We stand as One Clarke, One Community.

Spring 2021 Return to Campus Information
COVID-19 Communication

Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress

When we hear the word “holidays,” a number of images may come to mind: crackling fireplaces, tables plentiful with food and close times with family and friends. For some of us, the images may be a shade darker: a sense of loneliness, the pinch of limited finances, changes and losses in relationships or juggling competing social demands. The gap between our expectations and our actual experience can often be quite jarring. Even in the best families, we must adjust to a different rhythm of life and stubborn expectations which may no longer fit who we are. For those who feel distant from their families, this can be a time of reopening old wounds and emotional pain. Other feelings that commonly arise during the holidays include: guilt, stress, boredom, resentment and homesickness for your life at college. Keeping the following ideas in mind might help you not only to survive the holidays, but also appreciate them.

  • Acknowledge your feelings
    • If a loved one recently died or you aren’t near your loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness or grief. Allow yourself to cry every now and then.
    • You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it is the holiday season.
  • Seek support
    • If you feel isolated or down, seek out family members, friends, community, religious or social support and companionship.
    • If you are lonely, volunteer to help others. Getting involved and helping others can lift your spirits and broaden your social circle.
  • Be realistic
    • Make realistic expectations and goals for the holiday season and yourself.
    • Pace yourself—do not take on more responsibility than you can handle.
    • Make a list and prioritize important activities. This helps make tasks more manageable.
    • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
    • Do not put all of your energy into just one day (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, etc.).
  • Set differences aside
    • Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to your expectations.
    • Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and sadness by comparing today with the good old days of the past.
  • Stick to a budget
    • Before you go shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts and other items.
    • Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
    • Give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.
  • Plan ahead
    • Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends, and other activities.
    • Plan menus and then make one big food-shopping trip.
  • Learn to say no
    • Believe it or not, people will understand if you can’t do certain projects or activities.
    • Say yes only to activities you really want to do—you’ll avoid feeling resentful or overwhelmed.
    • If it’s impossible to say no, try to remove something for your agenda to make up for lost time.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits
    • Overindulgence can increase stress and guilt.
  • Take a breather
    • Even taking 15 minutes away from distractions may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.
    • Contact a long-lost friend or relative and spread the holiday cheer!
  • Seek professional treatment if needed