It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it?
This time last year, the American Psychiatric Association took a poll where they asked about holiday stress. They discovered that 31% of people expected to feel more stress during the holiday season than they had in years prior. Top stressors were being able to afford and find gifts.
Sound familiar? If it does, you’re definitely not alone.
If you’re feeling stressed as the holiday season approaches, here are a few things that might help.
Budget your time and money
Both are finite resources. If you fully exhaust them, you may head into 2024 feeling worn down and stressed. That’s no way to start the new year!
This year, decide how much money and time are healthy for you to spend during the holidays. Then, keep track. Buy a gift? Subtract the price from your budget. Commit to a holiday event? Write on your calendar how much time you are willing to dedicate to it.
Now, here comes the hard part: sticking to your budgets. To help, we recommend taking some time once a week to look at your money budget and your calendar. If you’re feeling stressed about either, it’s time to scale back. Saying no isn’t easy, but it’s key to protecting your financial and mental health (that’s true during the holiday season and always). To help you out, we’d recommend exploring the tips in this Harvard Business Review article.
And if your holiday gift budget is running low, don’t forget that you can always DIY. There’s something extra meaningful about something made with love!
Schedule time for yourself
If the holidays are stressful for you because they feel overly busy, get out that calendar again. Sometime in the next week (basically, before things start ramping up with Thanksgiving), carve out some time for yourself.
Schedule out some blocks of at least a few hours that you can use however you want.
Maybe you block out the night on December 5th. When it rolls around, you hit a yoga class and take a long bath. Maybe you protect Sunday morning on December 17th. You’re feeling exhausted by then, so you use it to sleep in and watch one of your favorite holiday movies.
Building in these chunks for self-care helps you do just that: take care of yourself this holiday season. It’s a gift that’ll keep on giving.
Our friends at SHE RECOVERS understand how stressful the holidays can be. They even extend the hours of their twice-daily global gatherings to increase support around the winter celebrations. If you are a woman or non-binary individual who needs a trauma-informed space full of support and understanding to share what’s on your heart, consider joining one of their meetings. The first SHE RECOVERS After Dark extended hours gathering will be on Thanksgiving: November 23.
Make your own traditions
If the holidays are stressful for you because they feel lonely, this is your year to make a change.
What sounds fun to you during this time of year? If you’re feeling stumped, here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning.
- Go see your local production of the Nutcracker
- Make a hot drink and walk the neighborhood near you with the best holiday lights
- Find and attend a choir’s holiday performance
- Make your own decor or gifts
Bake for your neighbors, friends, family, or office
Join a community like SHE RECOVERS or The Phoenix (or both with this app!) that allows you to connect with like-hearted people. We’re all in recovery from something, including loneliness
You’re in the position to make your own traditions. Consider this your inaugural season. And, as you find the activities that bring you joy, look for related communities. If you’re crocheting coasters to give as gifts, for example, you might look and see if there’s a local crochet group in your area that that meets regularly.
Here’s an idea for a tradition that can help you make or deepen friendships this year: baking and sharing cookies!
We can make it ever-so easy. If you place any cookie dough order, we’ll include a FREE bag of Doughp Drops. You can just plop these single-serve drops onto a baking sheet, pop them in the oven, and voila! Delicious cookies you can share this holiday season.