The holiday season can bring great fun and connection. It can also be a time of great stress. The natural rhythm of our lives may get shaken up, with more added to our plates in the form of social obligations, travel, shopping, shipping, and other demands. For many people, there’s simply more to think about—what to bring, what to wear, what to make, what to get so-and-so. Wallets are emptied, and budgets are strained. If you’re not enjoying the holidays, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed by them.
Here are some quick reminders and tips to help you cope with holiday stress:
1. It’s Not About What You Give; It’s How You Show Up
What you bring in terms of your mood and your attitude may be far more memorable than what you physically bring to any event. Do your best to enjoy who you’re with at any given moment, and glean what you can from any event you’re a part of, even if it might not be the most comfortable or fun way you can think of to spend your time.
If you go into an event with an open and positive mindset, you may create room for more enjoyment. If you find yourself in the middle of a holiday party wishing you were elsewhere, try to mentally bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on making the best of your circumstances, whether you chose them or not. Remember, you always get to choose your perspective and attitude.
2. Less May Be More
In a month filled with to-dos, what would it mean for you to put less on your plate in order to soak in what you do commit to?
I know some people who are hitting up multiple holiday festivities in one day. If that’s your jam and excites you, then go for it. However, if you find yourself “should”-ing your way from event to event because you feel you have to make everyone happy (everyone except you, apparently!), consider limiting your rounds and being more selective about where you put your energy and other resources. Which brings us to …
3. You Don’t Need to Give to Everyone
It can feel amazing to give. However, when you have many people on your list, such that you’re generally more stressed than excited about gifting, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and prioritize.
This one is for the people-pleasers out there. It can feel amazing to give. However, when you have many people on your list, such that you’re generally more stressed than excited about gifting, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and prioritize.
I understand there may be people in your life who are non-negotiables, people you may consider “musts” for gifting. Viewed through a different lens, you may find those expectations to be largely self-imposed and that there are people close to you for whom your thoughtfulness or presence is enough. A holiday card or words of appreciation can be and often is sufficient.
If any person you’re on the fence about gifting has a problem with not getting something from you beyond good vibes, that issue is theirs, not yours. Gifts are best when they come from a genuine and giving place, not when expected or forced.
4. Stick with Your Self-Care
Taking good care of yourself does not need to stop just because the holidays are here. Self-care can certainly be more challenging amid travel, time crunches, and an avalanche of sugary foods and drinks. However, making time for the activities and habits that help you feel grounded and balanced may help you feel less stressed and more joyful.
The thing with self-care is it’s most effective when there is a rhythm and consistency to it. The best self-care is treated as a lifestyle, not a sporadic diet. Do your best to take care of yourself—it’s important, and you’re worth it.
Discover what lights you up most about this time of year and make it happen. Often, it’s the little things that don’t take much time or effort that have the greatest impact. Think of what those things might be and incorporate them into your holiday schedule. What happens during the holidays may not be entirely within your control, but your attitude is.
When it’s all said and done, hopefully you will be able to look back and know you put yourself in the best position possible to enjoy the holidays.
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