Practicing Self-Care if the Holidays Stress You Out
‘Tis the season — for a whole lot of social engagements. Between holiday work parties, family traditions, Friendsgiving, and the like, it can get to be a lot. Add in trimming the tree and going through your gift list. Whew. it’s not surprising that nearly 40% of people say their stress levels go up this time of year.
You don’t have to ring in the new year feeling borderline burnt out, though. We’ve got a few tips that can help you practice self-care over the next six weeks.
Keep a calendar
Overbooking leads to a good amount of holiday stress. And guess what? You’ve got a handy calendar app on your phone.
Put engagements in there as they come up. Get in the habit of checking that calendar before you say yes to something.
Now, here comes the pro tip: schedule some you-time. If you know you tend to run out of time for yourself during this time of year, block off a few days in the coming weeks to do your favorite self-care activities.
Let yourself say no
Speaking of social engagements, know that you don’t have to do them all — and you don’t have to do them all the way they’ve always been done. It’s okay to miss the cookie swap or the work social. It’s okay to stay at a hotel instead of your parent's house if it’s triggering for you to be that close. It’s okay to pass on the visit altogether if that’s what you need. You deserve to feel refreshed and recharged heading into the new year.
It’s a hard truth. If you run yourself ragged doing everything that everyone expects of you in the coming weeks, you’re going to have a challenging start to the new year.
No is a powerful word. This holiday season, give yourself the gift of using it when you need it.
Get a jump on things now
When do you usually get stressed before the holidays? It is baking everything before Thanksgiving dinner or wrapping presents before your family’s gift exchange?
Take advantage of this time to think through all of your to-dos. Heck, make a list. Then identify anything that you could get done early. Maybe you freeze some pie crusts or hit the mall this weekend to start crossing off your gift list. Getting started earlier can help you have less to do once the festivities pick up. That way, you can actually enjoy them instead of spending them stressing about your list.
Have a game plan
A lot of what we’ve talked about so far hinges on the inherent busyness of this time of year. But that’s not the only reason for holiday stress. This can be a hard time of year because of forced engagement with people (usually family) who are difficult for you to be around.
Instead of going along with what you’ve done in years prior, make a plan. What would make this year easier for you? Maybe you talk to your family about doing an alcohol-free meal or agreeing that certain topics are off the table. Maybe you commit to coming for dinner but leaving promptly at a certain time. Figure out what works for you and would help you dread upcoming events less.
In short, if the holidays are difficult because of family dynamics, set up some boundaries to protect yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, this might be a good time to find a therapist. You can always look for local therapists and counseling centers, but you can also explore online resources like BetterHelp. Talking to someone is getting easier all the time.
And you know we’re in your corner! Here at Doughp, we’re all about busting stigma to make it easier for people to take care of their mental health. We’re rooting for you this holiday season and beyond!