12 Ways to Keep Sane During the Holidays
2020 has been a year like no other and with the fast approaching holidays, it can feel overwhelming, stressful, and even depressing.
For many of us, we have been grappling with trying to gain our footing in a year that has been riddled with unsteadiness, misinformation, political discord, and multiple shutdowns. There's nothing we’d love more than to feel a sense of “normalcy”.
Holidays themselves can trigger a number of emotions, coupling that with the year we’ve had, and one may be weary of participating.
On the other hand, it’s possible to enjoy this holiday season, and even create new traditions resulting in long-lasting memories. And I’d like to offer some ways to get through this holidays season that allows you to do just that.
1. Plan in Advance – How do you want your holidays to feel? If you're desiring a peaceful, calmer, more joyful holiday season, then scheduling your week(s) out ahead of time is ESSENTIAL. You don't want to be over extend yourself and leaving no room for unexpected things to pop up. Lack of planning creates stress and anxiety.
2. Be Mindful for Goodness Sakes - Set a Budget – write out all your expected costs ahead of time, and commit to staying within your means. This includes your emotional budget as well. Being mindful of where you’re spending your emotional time, and if your return on emotional investment is benefiting you or not. At the end of the day/week are you feeling more joy or more stress?
3. Stock up on Sanity Savers – Make a list of self-care treatments that help you stay calm, relaxed, and more peaceful. It's not enough to write a list out, you MUST implement these treatments to carry you through your days. Hint: You can do this year-round; it's good for your health.
4. Reel in Expectations – Repeat after me, “There is no such thing as a “perfect” holiday”. Gifts may get lost, someone might say something inappropriate, some of the food might get cold before dinner, and someone may cancel last minute…..its ok! Note: Expectations are buzz kills.
5. Say “YES” to the things you truly want to participate in, and say “no” to the things that drain your energy. Saying “yes” to things you don’t want to do can lead to added stress, depression, anxiety, resentment, and a whole lot of “no fun!".
6. Keep a Meltdown Journal – it’s the holidays and it’s been a year of COVID, misinformation, political discord, and a whole lot of uncertainty going on---there’s a fair chance of some meltdown moments happening. Writing it down in your journal will serve far better than blasting it on social media. It's easy to get caught up in the moment, but when you take the time to write it all out, you have an opportunity to pick up familiar patterns of how you react in certain situations. Example; Were you hungry, tired, lonely or stressed just before the meltdown occurred?
7. Keep Your Healthy Habits – Be mindful of your food…..too much holiday cheer and sugar can add to heightened stress levels causing heighted anxiety, depression, and mental and emotional fatigue. Also, be mindful of your sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can create brain fog, irritability, and an inability to make rational decisions. Be sure and carve out time for physical movement which will help with those excess holiday treats, help with sleep, and definitely clear your head. Best way to get through is feed your mind (motivational/inspirational) 30 minutes a day and physical movement at least 30 minutes a day.
8. Throw Guilt Out the Door – Because of everything that has gone on this year, you may be feeling off for the holidays or feeling guilty because you can’t give the kids what they want. I encourage you to throw that guilt thinking out the door. We are all doing the best we can. It’s also a great opportunity to remember what matters. Is it only about gifts? What gifts could you teach your children about thriving emotionally through difficult times? Those are the gifts that will last a lifetime.
9. Own Your Inner Grinch – If you’re feeling cranky because it seems like you’re always giving more than you’re receiving or vice versa, then call a truce on personal gift-giving. I did this years ago with my family. We limit to getting a little something for the kids, but no longer for adults. Having that conversation was a little scary because of not knowing how it would be received, but it turned out to be a relief by all involved.