The holidays can be a wonderful time to be with family and friends, but they can also take a toll on our mental and emotional well being.
When stress is at it’s peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Here are some tips for managing stress and prevent your inner grinch from coming out.
1) Acknowledge your feelings.The holidays are a time to enjoy, but it’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to be happy all of the time. Allow yourself to fully experience everything you may be feeling, whether it be anxiety, anger, sadness, whatever. Give yourself the time and space to acknowledge your feelings and not force yourself to feel a certain way out of external pressure or obligation.
2) Reach out.When you’re feeling lonely or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to seek out community, religious, social or even with a close friend or two, can be just the pick me up or encouragement we need. Also, connecting with others through volunteering can be a great way to lift the spirit, have new experiences and broaden your circle of friends.
3) Be realistic.The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year to be good or enjoyable. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often do as well. Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones.
4) Set aside differences.I know this is easier said than done, but the more you are able to let go, the better you’ll feel and the less stress you’ll have. Family disagreements are often magnified during the holidays (when everyone is together and stresses are high), but setting these aside until a more appropriate time and being understanding of each other’s feeling can make a huge difference in diffusing any potential showdowns between guests. Chances are others may be feeling the effects of the holidays too and the more understanding you can be, the more likely things will go smoother for everyone.
5) Plan ahead.Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. This will give you a good “head start” on all the people and things that will be demanding your attention during the busy holiday season. Make sure to line up help for party prep and clean up too.
6) Learn to say no.Saying yes when you should be say no, can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and co-workers will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Remember to take a deep breath every now and then and give yourself a break.
7) Take a breather.Make some time for yourself. Spending any amount of time alone can do wonders for your stress and energy levels. Alone time without distractions may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. (but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t)
The holidays are undoubtedly a wonderful, crazy time that can and will get the best of us if we’re not careful to set for ourselves ourselves and what we are truly willing and able to do. Without things having a negative impact on our lives and ultimately taking away from the happiness and enjoyment the holidays can and should bring.