As a child, the holidays were magical. It was all about presents, seeing family, and lots of food. As an adult, things might have changed for you a bit, especially if you have children, aging parents, and have to be responsible for executing the holiday duties.
As a parent of 2 toddlers, things have changed for me dramatically in the past couple of years. I took a lot of things for granted that I am now beginning to appreciate in my 30s (better late than never). For example, I never thought about how long it took to make tamales or pies from scratch and now I am consulting every social media outlet and watching how to videos. I loved my presents from Santa but now I resent him for getting the credit for presents I bought for my children. I wonder how my mother managed to have the house clean throughout the holidays while we all were making a mess every day. I could go on but just writing these examples is stressing me out.
Recently, I was asked by a client, "How do you not lose your (insert 4 letter word) over the holidays?" Well, I gave some tips on Coastal Living a couple of weeks ago (Find the link below) and I got a lot of feedback. Below are some tips I follow to keep my mental health in check over the holidays.
1. Set realistic expectations. Focus on what you can control and do the best you can. If something messes up, laugh it off. You can cut back in the areas that stress you out the most and concentrate on your strengths.
2. Scale back where you can. Some years you might have to cut back financially, and other years you might have to cut back on time consuming tasks. It’s okay!
3. Focus on what is important for the holidays. Period.
4. Always put your sanity first. Do what is important to you and don’t try to make everybody happy. If you need a break, take it.
5. Take a break. When family drama gets to you, take a drive. When the holidays get to you, take a break and give yourself some time to do what makes you happy.
6. Do not stress over social media perfection. Use social media for ideas but don’t be hard on yourself for not being perfect. Remember, those bloggers do that stuff for a living.
7. Volunteer. Helping others brings joy to you and others. You do not need money to help the less fortunate. There are many events throughout town that could use some extra volunteers during the holidays.
8. Grieve. The holidays can be rough for a lot of people who are grieving a loved one. Do something in memory of them and let yourself miss them as much as you can. Grieving is a natural process and trying to ignore the feelings can make it worse.
9. Exercise. Yes, you read that right. Not only will you get a start on your 2020 goals but it is a great stress reliever. Get out that anxious energy so it doesn’t creep up on you later.
10. Remember, if you do less, you will have more time to spend on what is important.