‘Tis the Season: How to Stay Sane During the Holidays
There is a fine line between festivities and sanity during this time of year. Whether you like it or not, the holidays are officially here; and with all the current restrictions in place, we know this won’t be the easiest year. This is exactly why we decided to put together a helpful guide to keeping both your body and your mind at its best during the holidays––so that you can end the year with a bang, and not with a burnout!
Step 1: Set your boundaries.
If a certain friend or family member tends to arise any kind of negative emotion in your household, you can politely let them know that this year’s family gathering (if even permitted) will be small and intimate. This will avoid the accumulation of negative or hurtful feelings festering in your mind, and more importantly, you'll reduce your overall stress levels.
It’s also important to set boundaries throughout your workload. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you need to burn out or go bankrupt trying to fulfill all the things you “should” be doing, like making a 6-course meal or attending every single gift exchanged.
Which leads us to our second point…
Step 2: Say NO.
Just because you get invited to 8 different parties taking place within the span of a week doesn't mean you have to actually attend them. Rather, "the holidays will be much more fun and less stressful if you only do what you are capable of," says Alissa Schneider, a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in alleviating anxiety. She suggests reducing your stress by only committing to activities that you are capable of attending, both time-wise and health-wise.
By focusing on a handful of quality moments rather than trying to spread yourself thin at every occasion, you will feel energized and excited to see your loved ones as opposed to stressed and drained.
Step 3: Release your grip.
Oftentimes, we are so busy trying to control things that are out of our hands that we are unable to remain present and enjoy what is actually happening.
You can't control the weather, the airlines, the COVID situation, or your aunt Julie, “but you can control how you respond to these situations”, says Tess Brigham, a licensed therapist and board-certified coach. If you keep your holiday expectations low (or even nonexistent), you might just find that it's almost impossible to feel disappointed.
This year more than ever, count your blessings during the holiday season. Use this time wisely to relax, spend quality time with loved ones, and disconnect from the news channels. Make sure to leave space in your schedule for some physical movement, prioritize water and nutritious food to support your health and keep a regular sleep schedule––these three things alone will work wonders for your wellbeing.
Most importantly, be sure to have FUN! If you are feeling overwhelmed by the season, shift your focus to seasonal things that you enjoy and make you smile. A little joy goes a long way…