The holidays are a busy exciting time – shopping, decorating, cooking, family and social activities etc. However, the holidays aren’t always a happy time. Sometimes we can be stretched too thin and left exhausted, or even depressed, from all the hustle and bustle. Here are our top tips to help you cope when the holidays are a less than joyous time.
Acknowledge your feelings. If you have lost a loved one or are not able to be with family, it is normal to feel grief or sadness. Many of us have learned to suppress negative feelings and over time we become less aware of what we feel. It is okay to acknowledge if you are not feeling happy or excited. Recognize that it is okay to cry or express your emotions vocally or through a healthy avenue like counseling or journaling.
Plan ahead. Often times around the holidays we end up trying to add in a lot of hectic errands last minute. Set aside specific days for shopping, cooking and socializing with friends and family. Enlist help from others for things like party preparation and post-party clean-up to make your events less stressful.
Learn to say no. You don’t have to accept every party invitation that you receive. Friends and family understand that this is a very busy season and that you can’t be expected to participate in every project or activity. Prioritize the invitations that are most important to you and graciously decline those that don’t fit into your busy agenda.
Get adequate sleep. People are more susceptible to colds, flu or illnesses in the winter and stress overload can also contribute to the likelihood of getting sick. Not to mention that adequate sleep can also help you with energy, brain fog, the ability to make decisions, healthy eating habits and the ability to deal with difficult situations. The importance of adequate sleep cannot be understated.
Nourish your body. It is normal to eat more than usual during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods affect your mood. Sugary sweets and overindulgence can cause an energy dip and may make you feel anxious. Focus on getting adequate protein, healthy fats and water into your diet. It can also be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after large meals to help improve your digestion.
Nourish your soul. Take a breather and carve out some time for yourself. Even taking just 15 minutes alone without any outside distractions can be very energizing and powerful. Find calming activities that you enjoy such as listening to soothing music, walking, massage or a restorative yoga practice. Clear your mind by practicing being still and deep breathing. Nurturing yourself will help you manage your stress much more effectively.
Reach out. We can’t do it all alone. If you feel lonely or isolated, it is important to seek out community through religious, volunteering or other social networks. Nurture supportive existing relationships with friends and family. Don’t be hesitant to enlist the help of a professional therapist or counselor if you need additional support.