Surviving the holiday season
While holidays are meant to be joyous occasions, they can also be a source of stress and anxiety for a lot of people. Between the endless frenzy of planning travel, shopping for gifts, cooking, cleaning and decorating, hosting and entertaining friends and family from November all the up to the New Year, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some tips on minimizing stress and anxiety so that you can properly enjoy the holiday festivities.
- Set realistic goals – It is very easy to get swept up into the overly-commercialized notion of holidays needing to be picture-perfect experiences full of Hallmark moments. There’s always a pressure to try to please everyone and ensure that the festivities go smoothly. Setting the bar impossibly high for yourself and others can lead to anxiety, disappointment, and resentment if things don’t go exactly as planned. It is best to set practical and attainable goals that allow you to enjoy your time without compromising your mental health and wellbeing. Set a realistic budget that works for you (and stick to it!), since overspending and strained finances can add to stress during the holidays. Be organised and plan ahead as much as possible to avoid any last-minute rush, and delegate or share in the preparation and planning as much as possible to lighten the load. Focus instead on enjoying your time with your loved ones and creating lasting memories – don’t worry too much about the small stuff!
- Dealing with drama – While reuniting with family and friends can be fun and exciting, it can often be emotionally taxing – different personalities and temperaments can clash, old insecurities can be triggered or there can be pressure to maintain or project certain appearances to avoid judgment. Remaining calm and collected when dealing with family drama can be challenging – try to be respectful of differences in opinion, preferences, and values while also maintaining boundaries that protect your own wellbeing. If things get tense or heated, step away from the situation to breathe and relax. Sometimes, well-intentioned actions or remarks from family members can feel hurtful – trying to understand their point of view or intentions can may offer a different perspective to the situation. Celebrate the holiday spirit of togetherness by taking this opportunity to let go of past grievances, and instead, practice kindness and forgiveness without compromising your own needs
- Practice healthy habits – The holidays are often synonymous with indulging in grand feasts, rich desserts and free-flowing alcohol, and many people look forward to this break from regular routines to destress and be merry. But overindulging can ultimately lead to physical discomfort and even weight gain – the resulting regret and guilt can linger well beyond the holidays. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet and drinking in moderation can allow you to enjoy the holidays in a more wholesome way. It is also important to get plenty of sleep and practice self-care – carve out the time to exercise, go for a walk, meditate, take a relaxing bath, or enjoy some peaceful alone-time over a cup of cocoa and a book – this will ultimately help you feel more fulfilled and recharged beyond the holidays.
I hope you get a get a chance to pause and reflect during the upcoming holidays on what truly matters to you, practice gratitude for the things you have in your life that you value the most and have a wonderful time celebrating with your loved ones.