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 School Counseling - We Give Thanks 2018

Managing Stress During the Holidays

This month, the SJCP Office of School Counseling has been emphasizing the importance of stress management and recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress. Our goal has been to provide students and the extended members of our community with information on these topics. On November 7, we celebrated Stress Awareness Day by sending an informative email to our community and distributing stress balls to our students. We will also be hosting a “Coffee with the Counselors” meeting on Thursday, November 29 from 8-9 a.m. Please RSVP to Diana Seymour at if you will be joining us.

As we all know, the holiday season can be a time of additional stress for many families. Added demands, social engagements, and financial stressors, as well as a change in activity and eating habits, can all contribute to elevated stress levels this time of year. In addition to that, our students will be preparing for and taking mid-term exams in December. During this time, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves and manage our time in an effective manner.

Below are some practical ways to manage stress during the holiday season and beyond.

Set your priorities.  Choose from obligations that are most important to you and your family. 

Be smart with holiday eating.  Choose the “treats” that you enjoy the most. Don’t deprive yourself but continue to eat a health-conscious diet while partaking in a few of your favorite indulgences.

Set a schedule.  Write down activities on a planner to be sure that the expectations you have are realistic. Be sure to plan time for exercise and relaxation as well as social obligations on your calendar.

Breathe.  Merely taking a few, deep cleansing breaths can reduce your level of negative stress in a matter of minutes.

Acknowledge your feelings. If we are away from loved ones or have lost someone close to us, it’s perfectly normal to feel sadness or grief. Allow yourself to cry and don’t feel pressure to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.

Reach out.  If feeling lonely or isolated, seek connections. Volunteering and helping others is a good way to lift your spirits and connect with others.

Seek professional help if you need it.  Despite your best efforts, if you find yourself feeling continually sad, anxious, helpless or unable to face daily routines, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Mrs. Anders and Mrs. Hoehn can provide you with referral information in our area.

References:  Mayo Clinic and

Julie Hoehn, MS, Ed., NCC
School Counselor
Paulette Anders, MBA, MS
College Counselor