The holiday season can be a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends and celebrate. This can be a good and a bad thing. The expectations of seeing family, endless social events, gift shopping, and holiday preparation can become too much for even the most dedicated extroverts. All too often, anxiety and depression can become unwelcome holiday guests. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can reduce holiday stress and mindfully enjoy the holiday season.
First Things First
The amount of online drama and negativity has dramatically increased with no sign of slowing down. It seems to get worse every week! It can be incredibly draining. Too much time spent scrolling and absorbing other people’s outrage never helped anyone feel any better. Not only that, if the holidays are difficult for you it can increase feelings of despair and isolation. You might want to consider putting strict boundaries on your social media time.
Your time with God has to come first. Spend the first few quiet minutes of every day in quiet devotion and prayer to help center your thoughts. I like to pray the offices to spiritually check in as the day’s stresses begin to accumulate.
Here’s a few of my favorite online resources:
As much as you can, make healthy food choices. If/when you choose to indulge, don’t turn it into a binge that lasts into January. Begin eating healthy again at the next meal. And be sure to stay hydrated.
Set aside some time for movement – whether it’s walking, gentle yoga or just getting outside for a bit, getting your blood circulating is enormously helpful. The American Heart Association wants you to stay active all the time, but it’s extremely important to keep that going during the holidays. Any activity or exercise you can fit in will help reduce your stress and elevate your mood.
Set A Budget
Admittedly, retail therapy can be great fun but not so much when you have to face the New Year with more credit card debt than you can handle. You can minimize the damage by setting a budget and sticking to it.
Know Your Limits
As a chronic pain patient, I’ve had to come to accept that I can’t do everything that I used to. I don’t bake as much as I once did, try keep the decorations minimal and try to pick just a few holiday events to try to participate in. Set the priorities that work for you and your family and then stick to them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Do Something Different
For some of us, holidays can be really difficult. Not everyone has a supportive extended family close by. If you’re by yourself, look for ways to serve in the community. If you’ve sick, have experienced a recent loss or are experiencing ongoing financial struggles, you might want to step away from the holidays completely. Take a road trip, go to the beach or mountains. Detach in whatever ways make sense to you.
The Bottom Line
Self-care is a conscious choice that we have to make on a daily basis not only now, but throughout the year. Take some time and create a deliberate plan of self care for yourself to make it through the holiday season.