It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time of the year where we get to reconnect and catch up with loved ones, eat yummy food, and make great memories, but what happens when it’s also the most stressful time of the year for you?
I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety, especially during the holidays, for as long as I can remember. I was always the girl that needed several hours tucked away in my room after any kind of family gathering to decompress. I still am that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the happy things that the holidays bring. Some of my best and fondest memories involve them, but I think it’s important to talk about the not so great feelings the holidays can bring with them, and most importantly, ways to help make things better.
1. I’m a people pleaser by nature. I don’t like confrontation, so I try to avoid it at all costs. The biggest thing for me around the holidays is knowing and respecting my own boundaries. It can be draining between all of the travel and going from party to party and worrying about what to get people for gifts. The older I get, the more I’m learning that it’s okay to politely say “no” when I need to. It’s not being rude, just me taking care of myself!
2. God bless my sweet husband! When someone has been in your life for a long time, chances are that they’ve picked up on when you’re getting overwhelmed and anxiety is kicking in too. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good support system in place. Having my husband there with me helps tremendously since I have that peace of mind that I have a safe spot to land. If there isn’t someone that is physically there with you, don’t underestimate the power of a quick text exchange! Even having someone to call or text when you need a break can make a big difference!
3. Whoever planned the holiday season to happen right when cold and flu season happen wasn’t planning too well. With that being said, I really try to be mindful of my physical health as well as my mental and emotional. Have you ever noticed how your anxiety seems so much worse when you’re not feeling well? I know I have! This time of year, it’s so important to try and make sure to get enough sleep, eat foods that nourish your body, and stay hydrated to combat all of those illnesses that are going around.
4. If you’re like me and the holidays kick your anxiety up a notch, chances are that you already have a few tricks up your sleeve for when you can only take a few moments to yourself. It’s especially important around the holidays to know which of your coping skills are the most effective for you. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve found a spot away from all of the noise and commotion to take a few good, deeps breaths in. No, it doesn’t magically fix everything, but it does help for the time being. For the times that taking deep breaths doesn’t work, I check in with my husband to.
5. If I got to choose between playing with my niece and nephews over another “what are you doing with your life” talk with adults, I’d choose the little ones all day! At holiday parties, most kids are just thinking about playing and having fun, not having deep conversations about life. Join in on their game and tap into their easy and fun energy! This can also be applied to pets! It’s no secret that petting a cute puppy can help reduce your blood pressure, elevate your mood, and in turn release endorphins.
At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself first! There is nothing selfish or rude about it; it’s just something that needs to happen, and there really is no time like the present! So this Holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself too!