The holidays are both the most wonderful time of the year and the very stressful. With the fun and generosity, comes planning and preparation. Thus, when it comes to combating holiday stress, self care is important.
The holiday season encompasses different desires and obligations for everyone. Whether it be wanting to take a vacation, hosting a dinner, or having to drive hours away to get to a family member’s house, there are so many moving parts. To manage the stress, you first need to assess where the stress is coming from. Ideally, you can do this before everything starts getting stressful so that you might be better prepared for it. Regardless, assessing the stress is imperative.
After identifying the sources, consider what it is that you want versus what others want. Of course there will be family obligations, but make it a point to give yourself time or an experience to enjoy the time of year. Allow yourself to say “no” when you need (or want!) to and let go of the unnecessary details. Letting the stress build up can not only impact your mental health, but also your physical health. When combating holiday stress, some key things to keep yourself from getting exhausted, depleted, and ill by considering the following:
- Begin planning well in advance. Creating a plan can help navigate situations more easily than figuring things out as you go.
- Set your budget early and stick to it. While it can be so difficult to stick to a budget, if you plan ahead, you might be able to purchase things cheaper than waiting until the last minute.
- Begin decorating early and use it as family time to bond and make traditions with your children. Traditions are something that get carried through generations and often reinforce memories. Regardless of a specific tradition, family time is a wonderful way to connect with each other.
- Be realistic of your time and skills. For instance, if baking is not your forté, then do not volunteer to bake cookies for your family members party. Offer to do something that is easier for you or simply but something store bought, which saves time and energy.
- Seek professional help if you need it. Similar to the above, be mindful of your abilities. If you want to hang Christmas light but do not have great balance, please hire someone to do it. Do not risk safety for a simple thing.
- Try yoga, meditation, and journaling when things are getting to be too much. These are proven to reduce stress, however these techniques may not be fore everyone. Find something you can do to release some stress.
- Ask your friends and family for help. There is nothing wrong about asking for help. In fact, it shows strength and awareness of your own capabilities. Especially around the holidays, people are often looking to help others in ways they are not necessarily looking to do at other points during the year.
- Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Doctors say that adults need 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Plan for that, go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every night. It will significantly improve your body’s ability to handle stress.
- Plan time off for yourself. When you need a break, take one! Be mindful of your body and needs and take care of yourself. If you do not take care of yourself, how can you care for others?
The holidays incur many trials and tribulations related to social obligations, financial strain, and expectations. The goals and desires that one may have does not always pan out to be the case and that is not easy to deal with. Stress accrues in the body and affects both physical and mental health. When combating holiday stress it is important to be cognizant of what is happening within yourself to be able to manage it.