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Happy Holidays? Managing Holiday Stress & Expectations

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Lights, camera, action! The distracting glamour of the red carpets and film premieres that gains the attention of the public, hides the challenging realities of working in the film industry. From actors and directors, to technicians, camera operators, makeup artists and transport workers, we are all are struggling with maintaining our mental health, and looking for a break – a break like the holidays, when productions shut down for a week or two.

However, the effects of the strains on our health and well-being (mental and physical) can easily manifest themselves when we finally have time to stop and slow down. Job insecurity, COVID protocols, long hours and burnout, substance use, and long periods away from family and friends can take their toll, and add to the stressors already inherent in the expectations of holiday celebrations.

It is no secret that the holiday season often brings with it its own unwelcomed emotions, overshadowing the seasons’ emphasis on peace, joy and love. The holidays have a way of presenting unrealistic demands - such as cooking extravagant meals, buying expensive gifts, entertaining family and friends, higher alcohol consumption - just to name a few. In addition to this, the pandemic continues to pose its own unique challenges, especially as COVID-19 has our holiday plans looking differently than planned.

So what to do?
  1. Avoid having a “future-focus” that anticipates the stresses the New Year may bring. Keep your attention on the present moment, and the meaning, moments, and people you care about as you celebrate the season.

  2. Be realistic about your personal expectations for this time off. Make reasonable plans, take time for yourself, monitor your inner state, and reach out for help when needed.

  3. It is important to consider helping others reframe their expectations around this time of year. What really needs to happen, and what can be set aside, changed, or adapted this year.

  4. If you find yourself overwhelmed, or alone, over the holidays, think about other times when you found support. Can you recall from past holiday seasons where your support network lies? This network can include compassionate family members, friends, or other colleagues who understand the struggle.

  5. Given the global situation and its lasting effects on many, be kind to yourself and those around you, and have important conversations of care and concern with your loved ones.

May you find moments of rest & peace, joy & celebration, and connection & meaning over this holiday season.

For more tips on how to better handle the stress and expectations this season can bring, check out the two Holiday tip sheets below that you can download to read, print, and share!

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