De-stressing and self care during the holidays typically fall to the bottom of the list. This year, I’d encourage you to focus on the things that matter the most to you. I’ve found that if I go into the holidays with a plan, that I find more joy in each moment. I’ve outlined my 4 themes that I plan to use this December. The goal is to help you keep stress at bay so you can slay this holiday season!
Focus on Expectations: Remember that things might not go exactly as planned. 99% of the time my plans do not turn out how I’d envisioned. My life is not a Pinterest board, and yours likely isn’t either. That is OK. I try to take a deep breath, or maybe spend 2-3 minutes meditating in a quiet space when I feel overwhelmed. Small internal check-ins are key to maintaining a clear mind.
Avoid Self-medicating: Alcohol may seem to take the edge off during holiday events, but it can actually make anxiety worse or even trigger a panic attack. Instead of guzzling wine, try to initiate a card or board game, create a craft together, try baking, or play a game of charades or hide and seek! Doing things together with friends or family can be a lot of fun; it also creates memories and initiates bonding.
Keep it simple: Every year there is a family member or friend that causes me a great deal of anxiety. I try to go in with a plan of action for our encounters: stick to simple topics to minimize conflict. Ask about holiday/new year plans, children, books or music. Just keep it light. If worse comes to worse, excuse yourself from the conversation to take a walk or stretch.
Just say “no”: It is so easy to over-schedule during the holidays. I’m raising my hand here because I am the guiltiest party. My husband encouraged me last year to make a list of the things that I wanted to do in one day and then to pick three of them. The rest had to wait. It really encourages me to reprioritize. By not doubling up on holiday parties in one night, I’m able to perform some self care, like lighting a candle and listening to my favorite record, taking a bath, or reading a book! It is the little things that count — saying “no” to others will help you to say “yes” to yourself!