With winter right around the corner the thought of the impending holiday season can be a daunting one. The most wonderful time of the year can often bring with it stressors such as more responsibilities and obligations, financial strain, and family drama. The holidays can be tough for many, but there are ways to help mitigate the stress of the season and enter the new year refreshed instead of entirely exhausted.
1. Plan Ahead and Stay on Top of Your Schedule
Whether it be multiple Christmas parties overlapping with another or simply trying to maintain your current schedule, the holiday season can become very hectic very quickly with all its different events and errands needing to be run. It may sound tedious, but logging these different events and setting aside time for running errands and chores into a calendar can make overlaps much easier to spot ahead of time.
2. Make a Budget for Yourself
Perhaps one of the most stressful parts about the holiday season is the toll your wallet can take when planning for events, prepping large meals, or buying gifts for loved ones. While we would all like to give our loved ones the world, it may not always be the most practical option. Make sure you set aside certain amounts for certain events such as party planning, grocery shopping for meal preparation, and gift shopping. Staying within a certain budget can help prevent any unwanted surprises when it comes to looking over the total cost at the end of the season.
3. Stay Healthy
Staying healthy has multiple meanings in this context. Health is more than just the physical, so taking care of your mental health is just as important as staying physically healthy any time of year, not just the holidays. That being said, however, it is increasingly easy to fall into unhealthy habits this time of year due to irregular schedules and food-centric holidays such as Thanksgiving.
This is not to say that you should be entirely restrictive, either. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite holiday indulgences like a slice of pumpkin pie or a serving of mashed potatoes. Restricting yourself too much could lead to a sense of resentment of others not doing so and effectively ruin the fun of the occasion for yourself and potentially others. The key is to find a balance between maintaining your healthy habits such as a trip to the gym or a walk around the neighborhood and still indulging in the finer things.
Additionally, cold and flu season is officially upon us, so be sure to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and to keep your distance from those exhibiting symptoms to try and dodge the yearly virus that reigns king this time of year.
4. Take a Step Outside
As the temperature continues to drop it’s natural to want to stay inside curled up under a blanket, but there can be too much of a good thing. Taking a break to get some fresh air and expose yourself to some sunlight can help in combating the effects of seasonal depression and has been shown to help in stress relief, improve concentration, decrease inflammation, and increase mental energy. Stepping outside allows you the chance to refocus and get you outside of your own head, at least for a moment. Even if it sounds like the last thing you want to do, just five minutes could be all you need to recenter and improve your mood.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Take the time to show yourself as much love as you show others this year because it’s not easy juggling everything that the holiday season can throw at you. If you’re more introverted, don’t be afraid to say no to certain events or invitations if you think they’d stress you out more than you’d enjoy them. If you’re worried about making everything perfect for an event you’re hosting, give yourself some grace. It’s not easy for anybody to keep it together all the time, especially around the holidays, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be “on” 100% of the time.
Allow yourself the downtime to decompress in between the various festivities to do something as simple as taking a midday nap with your Nodpod weighted eye mask if you need it. Even the most avid holiday fanatics need a moment to themselves. Taking the time to show yourself some proper TLC can go a long way in preventing mental burnout and boosting your energy for the rest of the season.
The holiday season can be rough for a lot of people for a number of different reasons, and keeping this in mind can be helpful not only in being more understanding of others but also in being more forgiving with ourselves. Taking a second to step away from the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays can be instrumental in saving your sanity when everything seems to come to a head. Even still, don’t forget to stay present and enjoy this time of year for what it is. It does only come once a year, after all.