7 Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season
Stay on track! don't fall off your routine!
We all have a routine of some sort that we follow. For some, the routine may be very ridged, planned out, structured, with little room for movement or change to your schedule, other may have a more lax routine. Either way, it's important to not lose ourselves or fall off our routines when the holiday season rolls in.
If you know you are the type of person who stresses out about everything, plan ahead. Even if you don't stress, planning ahead can help us avoid feelings of stress, anxiety, or of being overwhelmed. It can help us enjoy the holidays and events more, as we have already prepared and thought ahead. Write a list, or multiple to help you organize meals, gifts, travel, events. By planning ahead and making lists there's less of a chance of unpleasant surprises and missing anything important. If you are buying gifts for others, this also allows for you to be able to look at what is needed, and order or buy ahead to ensure delivery and that you get the right item you are hoping to gift this season.
Keep it simple.
There is no need to make things harder than they need to be. Work smarter, not harder. Keep it simple, Concentrate on being with those you love, family, friends, pets, and remain grateful for what you have and where you are. Avoid falling victim to the expectations of others, or of setting your own expectations of an event, holiday, or of yourself too high. Setting unrealistic expectations will make the holiday or even less enjoyable as you will be striving for something that likely isn't obtainable or doesn't exist. Be realistic, setting the bar to high causes us disappointment, lower your expectations of what a holiday "should" be and just go with the flow of whatever happens.
Allow yourself to say "no"
Everyone is having a party, you are getting all the invites, yet also trying to hold onto your sanity this holiday season. Prioritize yourself, prioritize your time. Don't let your health suffer because of an event, or multiple events. Prioritize which evens are most important to you. Kindly decline any offers that seem overwhelming, stressful, or that don't serve you well. Don't feel obligated to make it to several events in one night. Remember that you are not obligated to please everyone. You are not required to do anything that you aren't comfortable doing or that may jeopardize your physical or mental health. Allow yourself the freedom to say "no" and decline what you need to. We can do lots of things, but it's impossible to be able to do everything.
Ask for help
Perhaps you are in charge of your company toy drive or setting up volunteers to feed the homeless. Maybe you are hosting all of the big holidays are your home, or maybe you are planning the travel plans for your clan. Whatever it is you are doing, don't let it overtake you and bog you down from the things in life that matter year round. Ask for help. Asking for help is not weakness, in fact it takes strength and courage both admit you need help, and also to ask for help. Ask guests to bring side dishes and deserts for the holiday or event. If help if offered in any form, take it. Just because the holiday season hits doesn't mean that your self-care, routine, or health has to suffer. By no means are you expected to become a superhero because the season changes. That is not realistic and will lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and take the joy out of the season. Delegate tasks to family members and friends, and allow yourself some space to breathe.
Don't forget to put yourself first. Often times people become so consumed in the season, stressing over buying gifts, weight, what to wear or not wear, that they lose track of their own values and either slow down or stop completely taking care of themself. Not only is it the holiday season, but it's also cold and flu season. The weather changes, it gets colder, our sleep patterns are thrown off my daylight savings, and with all the hustle and bustle we tend to forget about ourselves, putting self-care on the back burner until we crash. It's imperative that you continue to stay on a routine, get enough sleep, water, exercise, and eat well. If you notice yourself being off, reevaluate and ask yourself what you need to get back on track and feeling better. Drink tea, relax by the fire or in a hot bath. Whatever you do, don't forget to put yourself first.
Remain mindful and practice gratitude
Focus on the things you have, rather than what you with you had. Focus on your family, friends, co-workers, pets, experiences, the fact that you have clothes on your back and a roof overhead. Often with the holidays and the new year we get stuck in a negative thinking trap, thinking about what we could or should have done differently. When we get stuck in this thought process, we may feel disappointment, stress, sadness, anxiety, or hopeless. We forget to remain mindful about the good things we have witnessed or accomplished. It's easy to fall into the trap and become consumed wishing things were different, or comparing ourselves to what others have done, we lose perspective. Remain mindful about your values, whats important to you. Be mindful about not loosing track of what the season means to you, of your overall wellbeing. Just because there are several events doesn't mean you need to attend them all, it doesn't make you obligated to drink, or to eat in a way that you normally wouldn't. Remain thankful, be grateful, and stay mindful during the holiday season. Remember to take each day as it comes. You can't change the past, you can't predict the future, so stay in the present, that's the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.