1. Health

Tips for Beating Holiday Stress

Advice for the Disabled and their Caregivers


Updated April 22, 2014

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can bring out the best, and occasionally the worst, in people. Have you ever gone holiday shopping during peak shopping hours and ended up with another shopper on top of you in your wheelchair because they came around a corner going full throttle? Maybe you’ve waited for a battery powered scooter, only to find that they are all being used by the non-disabled. Perhaps you’ve been frustrated at being unable to reach items on store shelves, and found no one within earshot to assist you. If you’ve found yourself in any of these situations, take heart; the following tips will help you make it through this holiday season!

Set a Budget

Middle aged couple counting coins
Andrew Olney/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Many individuals like to splurge on their friends and family and even themselves during the holiday season. A budget can help you avoid spending more money than necessary, which is especially important if you're on a fixed income. One tip is to take cash out of your account prior to shopping, with the exact amount you've budgeted for. Once the cash is gone, you're done shopping.

If you shop online, use only one specific credit card for your purchases. Ask your credit card company to lower your credit limit if you tend to spend too much during the holidays. This will help you avoid the stress and anxiety that comes in January when the bills start rolling in.

Plan Shopping Trips

Lori Martin @ Dreamstime.com

There may be many things you'll need during the busy holiday season. Baking supplies, indoor and outdoor decorations, party supplies and of course, presents. Make lists before you go shopping to limit the number of trips you'll need to make in order to buy these items.

If you don't have someone shopping with you, call ahead to the stores you are visiting and find out if a shopping assistant can help you find the items on your list. This is especially helpful when items are high on the shelves and the shopping aisles are clogged with other shoppers. In some stores, shopping assistants can have all the items you require prior to your visit so all you have to do is pay and go!

Shop Online


While you may enjoy visiting the malls during the holiday season, dealing with crowds and waiting in long lines can be overwhelming and tiresome. Online shopping is a way to avoid the crowds and trips in bad weather. Great deals can be found on almost every online retailer's website, starting on Black Friday. Visit your favorite websites to get the best deals, and sign up for their email newsletters so you'll get money saving coupons and sale reminders.

Acknowledge Feelings


If you feel sad or depression during the holidays, acknowledge your feelings. It is okay to feel sad sometimes, especially when expectations for a "perfect holiday" are at an all time high. If your family cannot visit you, find other ways to communicate with each other. Some ways to do this include letters, emails, phone calls and Skype.

Reach out to community members and organizations if you are feeling lonely and sad. If you are able, volunteer your time at organizations that need help. It is said that it is difficult to dwell on your own problems when you are helping others in need.

Say Maybe to Invites

Melinda Nagy @Dreamstime.com
It is fun to jump in with holiday spirit and agree to attend every event and party, however, it can be physically exhausting and expensive as well. Family and friends will understand if you say "maybe" instead of "yes" to every invitation. Pace yourself, especially if you have a chronic condition or a compromised immune system.

Maintain Healthy Habits

Dawn Balaban@Dreamstime.com
Some people are so busy during the holidays that they forget to take care of themselves. Insomnia, a lowered immune system and exhaustion can result if you don't maintain healthy habits. Remember to eat balanced meals and have healthy snacks readily available so you aren't tempted to binge on foods high in fat and sugar. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night will also help you get through the hectic days ahead.

Take Time to Relax

Raisa Kanareva@Dreamstime.com
Just 15 minutes a day relaxing can rejuvenate your body and soul. Find a quiet place to rest, whether you are sitting or lying down. Turn off cell phones, computers and the television, so that there are no distractions. Ty to clear your mind of everything and focus on taking deep, cleansing breaths. Taking a time out may be all you need to keep going for the rest of the day.

Ask for Help

Orangeline @Dreamstime.com
No one can do it all alone, but sometimes when we're disabled we feel like we have to prove that we're more than capable to others. There is no shame in asking for help, whether it is for decking the halls, wrapping presents or preparing a feast. Friends and family are waiting for you to give them a signal that you'd like some assistance.

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