The holidays can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a very stressful time with get together’s, parties, food, alcohol, presents, and travelling. It can also be complicated and tangled with grief, sadness, anger, and loss. For some, it is a task of merely getting through and surviving. For those who struggle through the holidays, I see You. I believe there is value in shifting the discussions about surviving the holidays to one of thriving through them. It may not be easy, but the more we practice the following things, the easier it may become.
- Set boundaries and manage expectations. Setting boundaries may be about saying ‘no’ to people’s requests or even about declining invitations to holiday events and gatherings. It’s about knowing what you can handle and what you cannot. Knowing what you can and cannot do or offer and being able to share that, will keep your stress levels down and lessen the opportunities for resentment to creep in once you’ve said ‘yes’ when you really wanted to say ‘no’.f your family gatherings are full of stress, set boundaries about your level of participation. Set realistic expectations about your needs, time, and money because they are all valuable. You can also plan an activity that brings you joy following these gatherings.
- Give and do what you can. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to be everything and give everything, gifts included, during the holidays. This only leads to stress, resentment, and possible debt in the new year. When we can say ‘no’ or stay on budget, we begin to lessen the stress around the holidays.
- Surround yourself with people and things that add to your joy. This is especially important during the holidays when we often have increased stress. Surround yourself with things that make you feel good; loved ones, your pet, nature, a cup of tea, or a good book.
- Maintain healthy nutrition. This isn’t about deprivation but rather recognizing the foods that make you feel good and foods that don’t. Ensure that you give your body more of what it needs and less of what it doesn’t. Filling up on nutrient dense foods with protein, fiber and healthy fats will keep cravings away so you can still indulge in your favorite holiday snacks, treats, and sweets without clearing the buffet table at every turn.
- Drink responsibly. If you drink, ensure you alternate between alcohol and non-alcohol, non-sugary drinks. Sparkling water with lemon is a great option. It helps reduce the amount of alcohol consumed, but also helps keep you hydrated. Also, ensure you eat nutrient dense foods as this helps slow the effects of the alcohol.
- Keep your body moving. Maintain your routine. Exercise is a great stress reducer.
- Be gentle with yourself. No one is perfect. Release guilt about how you feel during this time of year. Release guilt about what you eat. Release guilt about what you do or don’t do. Do your best. Take time for yourself. Rest when needed. Practice gratitude.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday and a beautiful new year.