Having happy holidays gets tough sometimes. Between obligatory family gatherings, cooking elaborate meals, and the overall pressure to be merry, the holidays can bring out a lot of stress. Especially if you’re dealing with grief, loss, or life changes. For me personally, the holidays really aren’t my favorite time of the year because they bring up a lot of conflict as my to-do list drifts further away from to-done.
Below are my top tips for managing seasonal stress so you can cope with the holidays and enjoy the ride! Read on…
Take a Break
Taking a step back when things threaten to boil over is my number 1 recommendation to diffuse stressful situations. Excuse yourself to go to the restroom, take the dog for a walk, step outside, go to the gym: whatever helps you get away from the chaos for a bit! Once you’re away from the situation, take some deep breaths and reflect. You’ll feel a lot better and be able to handle the stressful situation from a clearer space!
As someone who has anxiety, a quick workout for 15-30 mins each day really helps clear my thoughts and create space to approach negative feelings. You don’t need much, just make sure you’re taking the time out for yourself, whether that’s a quick walk or dancing around your room!
Get Plenty of Sleep
We’re all tempted this time of year to stay up late baking cookies or brining turkeys, but getting enough restful sleep is vital to feeling your best. Your mind and body needs rest to function fully, so set hard stop times for holiday preparations to make sure you’re in bed at a reasonable hour!
I’m the worst at this… I tend to take on waaaay too much, especially because I want to please anyone and everyone! But, biting off more than you can reasonably chew is a huge cause of stress, so don’t commit to a 4 course meal if you haven’t made one before or don’t have help. (I mean, you can if you want to, but recognize your limits!) Often times, something simple done well is better than something elaborate executed poorly, so don’t pressure yourself to do a “Martha Stewart-esque Christmas” if that’s not you!
The bottom line is, holidays are a lot to handle. This time of year, a lot of us are missing departed loved ones, dealing with familial judgement, or playing referee in conflicts between others. At the end of the day, set boundaries with people and yourself and stick to them to make sure your emotional needs are being respected. We’ll get through this!