Are the holidays stressing you out? I’m pleased to share this helpful guest post from writer and addiction recovery expert Trevor McDonald.
We deal with stress every day of our lives. Then the holidays come. And guess what? Those everyday stresses don’t go away. They are only compounded by worries about shopping lists, holiday dinners and getting it all done in time. Add depression to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious pressure.
Your pulse quickens just thinking about it.
Take a deep breath. You got through this last year, and with some strong coping mechanisms, you’re going to breeze through this holiday season too!
Allow Yourself to Feel
The holidays are a difficult time for people who are missing someone special in their lives. Acknowledge your feelings. They are valid. You are allowed to feel sad, and then you can remind yourself of all the amazing things that you have to be thankful for.
Rely on Loved Ones
If you’re really feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone you love. This person can lend a shoulder or a helping hand, depending on what you need. We all need help sometimes, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Take Care of Yourself First
You won’t be able to spread cheer if you don’t take care of yourself first. Continue eating healthy and exercising throughout the holidays to ensure you’ll be fit and healthy enough to handle anything that comes your way.
Set Aside YOU Time
Before things get too hectic, plan some time for yourself to relax. Listen to soft music in a dimly lit room, go for a walk or spend an evening gazing up at the stars. Think of these moments as ways to recharge your batteries.
Practice Saying No
If you’re operating at max capacity, don’t let someone pile another thing on your to-do list. You are under no obligation to handle everything, so don’t even try. It’s better to help when you thought you couldn’t than to let somebody down after you promised you could. Remember that this holiday is supposed to be fun for everyone, including you! It’s okay to say no sometimes.
Stay on Budget
It’s way too easy to get carried away with holiday shopping, but then reality kicks in and the stress level goes up another notch or two. Create a budget for gifts, entertainment, and food. Next up, stick to your budget! It’s easier said than done, of course, but do your best to reel in that holiday spending.
Use Time Wisely
There are plenty of apps that can help you with budgeting and stay calm during the holidays, but it’s good to keep tech time to a minimum. Some tech time may be necessary, but be careful about spending too much time on social media. Technology addiction is real. Just think about how much time you could waste scrolling through holiday ideas on Pinterest, and thank yourself for avoiding that trap. If you spend your time wisely, you may find that you have more than enough to go around.
When family members don’t get along, everyone suffers. You harbor bad feelings, and everyone else gets caught in the crosshairs. If something is bothering you, it may be a good idea to address it before the holidays. If you’re going to approach someone with an olive branch, do so with forgiveness in your heart. We can’t control what others do or say, but we can control how it impacts our lives. Bad feelings always get in the way of a good time, no matter how hard you try to ignore them. If you can, try to make peace with your family this holiday.
Accept Others for Who They Are
Remember last year when your brother was supposed to help you put up the Christmas lights, but he went drinking with his buddies instead? This is a hard one to grasp, but you’ll have a much better holiday if you accept people for who they are. Don’t waste your time or energy getting angry over people acting the way they always do. Not only do we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves over the holidays, but we sometimes put unrealistic expectations on other people too. Try to keep your expectations realistic for yourself and everyone around you.
Do Your Holiday Shopping Online
Even if you love shopping, shopping during the holiday season can be way too intense. There are crowds and lines, and everyone is at their wit’s end. Forget the crowds this year and have everything delivered to your doorstep. There are great deals to be had online too.
If the stresses of the holiday season are catching up with you, don’t despair. Plan well and take everything one day at a time. You will get through this season like you’ve gotten through all others. Just don’t forget to take some time for yourself in the process.