You’re not alone if you’re not exactly feeling in the holiday spirit this year: too many crowds, too much holiday music, too many family obligations. It can all be a bit too much. The holidays can get us down, but we can also fight back. So how exactly do you fight back?
You can kick the holiday stress by doing as much planning as possible. Plan your time with extended family; plan who’s cooking what day, and where you need to be on which day. The more you schedule things (and stick to that schedule!), the more likely you won’t be stressed out by having to make a dozen last-minute decisions.
Now is the time to do those things you’ve done in the past that help you successfully deal with stress. If you like to exercise to keep the stress at bay, make sure you keep to your regimen as much as possible. If you like to get a massage, now’s the perfect time of year to get one. In short, stick to the coping skills you like to use and that work best for you. (Here are some new relaxation or meditation techniques to try out if you need them.) Don’t put off using them because “there’s no time,” or “I have to be there for others.” You can’t be there for others if you don’t take care of your needs first.
It’s easy to go overboard with everything during the holidays. We tell ourselves, “Hey, I deserve this” or “One more helping won’t really hurt anything.” We feel like it’ll help the stress if we have one (or two, or three) extra drinks to help deal with our family. But overdoing it rarely helps anything, and makes us feel worse in the long run.
Yeah, it’s a pain to stick to eating a healthy diet and not over-indulging during the holidays. So do this instead: allow yourself one extra helping at one meal a day, or one extra drink or dessert. Giving yourself an allowance for a little extra ahead of time can help you keep to reasonable limits, while still allowing yourself to enjoy the holidays.
Now’s not the time to start a new diet, a new routine, or try out a new personality. Sticking to what’s worked in the past is usually best, with a few little tweaks here and there to help make things even better. You can, of course, always try and change things for the better. But it’s wiser to do so in little bits and pieces, not all at once.
Want to improve your relationship with a family member? Take baby steps to work on more clearly communicating with them without sarcasm or bringing up past embarrassments or hurts. Actions speak louder than words, so no need to tell others you’re working on improving these things — just do it.
A good offense is the best defense, the saying goes. So if you prepare ahead of time for such situations by setting realistic expectations and work to minimize conflict with others. It may also help to give yourself some alone-time after interacting with a particularly unhelpful family member. Excuse yourself and go for a nice brisk walk outside to help clear your head and re-establish your calm.
There are many other great others you can find here if you are looking for more information about copying with the holidays: http://bit.ly/19yzwf6. Check it out (and please share with your friends and family if you think it may help them too)!