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Traveling is a big part of the holiday season for many people. When travel is loaded with gifts and baggage, through possible wintry weather, and on busy travel dates, it can be especially stressful. Although you can’t eliminate all the stress associated with holiday travel, these tips may help you lessen its impact on you.
- Plan for and expect delays. Crowded airplanes and highways, wintry weather, and sudden delays are all part of your trip that you cannot control. Expect that you’re going to face most or all of these and that you aren’t going to be able to change them. Instead, focus on how you will react. Forming a mental plan for remaining calm may greatly reduce your feeling of stress.
- Give yourself enough time. Give yourself more time than you think you will need when traveling for the holidays. During the holidays, even simple things, like check-in lines, finding a cab and airport parking can take longer than usual. Knowing that you have time to deal with delays can help prevent or minimize anxiety and stress.
- Pack snacks and travel games. Long waits, drives or flights require special planning for young kids. Be prepared with easy-to-eat healthy snacks, such as cheese sticks, baby carrots and apple slices. Games also will help pass the time, and can be as simple as crayons and coloring books, a deck of cards, books, and pencil and paper for playing tic-tac-toe.
- Plan ahead for next year’s holidays. If you find that your holiday travel is stressful, use this year’s get-together to discuss other plans for next year. Suggest a more convenient place or offer to act as host yourself. You may even feel you need to skip travel and family gatherings next year. Remember, letting family know in advance that you’re planning to do something different next year is best.
Learn ways to help manage or reduce your stress with Managing Stress: How to Cope.
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