The holiday season has started! Don’t let the stress of the holiday season zap out your joy! For some people, like me, this is a happy time to spend with family and friends and eat good food. For others, it is a difficult time because of personal, family or financial problems. Stress and depression can ruin your holidays but you don’t have to let that happen to you. You can find ways to deal with stress and take care of yourself so you can enjoy this time.
Here are some simple ways you can handle holiday stress:
- Be Mindful. Evaluate where you are right now. Are you feeling worn out or exhausted? Or are you energized and excited? By noticing how you feel now you can determine how much you can handle. And set your intention to enjoy this holiday season.
- Write down 1-3 top expectations for this holiday season. How do you want to spend the holidays? Who do you want to spend them with? How do you want to feel this season? Many people set too high expectations for this time of year and then feel let down. Make sure your expectations are realistic.
- Practice Self-Care. What do you need during this holiday season? Do you need time to work out? Do you need time for yourself? It is important to continue exercising and eating healthy even if it is a busy time of year. Don’t let it all go out the window this month because of so many holiday activities.
- Choose a mantra that will help you get through this time and keep you on track like, “I can do this,” or “I will remain calm when I am around my family or in laws.” Choose any phrase that fits for you and will help you refocus.
- Have a support person that you can go to when things don’t go well. This can be your spouse, a friend or family member that will be there for you when you need comfort and support.
- You can also be a support to others during this time. It can help you feel good about being able to help someone who needs you. By being a support to others, you can help make the holidays be enjoyable for them as well.
- Avoid all or nothing thinking. Try to find the good and bad of the season. Yes, maybe certain members of your family are stressful to be around but you do enjoy gift-giving, or baking cookies or listening to holiday music and decorating your home. Nothing is all good or all bad. Find a healthy balance of both.
- Positive evaluation: Think about what you can say to yourself in a positive way about how this holiday season went. Come up with it in advance and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy like, “ I will have done my best this holiday season if I stayed calm while my mother was here or if I enjoyed time with my cousins and didn’t stress myself out over everything having to be perfect.
- Travel during the holidays: If you are traveling and you are like me, leaving late stresses me out! So, plan ahead, and communicate with your family about what time everyone needs to be ready so you don’t leave late.
- Practice Gratitude: Remember to reflect and say the things you are grateful for in your life. Even if the holidays are stressful or if it’s a difficult time with your family, you can find things to be grateful for and if you can express that to yourself and to your loved ones. Savor the moments of well-being while they are here. Don’t take your good fortune for granted. Reflect on the blessings in your life and when you express that to your loved ones, you and they will both feel the joy! And isn’t that what the holidays are all about!
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and healthy New Year!
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