As festive as the holiday season can be, stress is often associated with the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years. Some years, the stress might seem to outweigh the celebrations of the season. If you’re feeling overwhelmed this week, the first thing to know is that you’re not alone. You might not be able to make the stress go away, but there are a few things you can do to try to give yourself some well-deserved stress relief.
Validate Your Feelings
If you feel stressed, it’s often because there are one or many very real things that are causing you stress. You might be feeling stressed because life is stressful. Don’t forget to validate your feelings and remember that you’re dealing with a lot. Also, the holiday season is a sad time for many people. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and are missing them during the family traditions and seasonal celebrations. That is very understandable and you cannot (and should not) just force yourself to be happy and forget your worries. Although many people talk about the magic of the holiday season, decorations and a date on the calendar can’t magically make your stress or sadness go away. Paying attention to your feelings can help you see how valid your stress or sadness is. Don’t judge your feelings, just acknowledge them.
When stressed, our default is often to completely withdraw or to keep going until we burn out. Neither one of these extremes will help alleviate your stress in the long run, nor is either extreme sustainable when it comes to your well-being. Instead, try to find balance. Reach out to close friends and family for support and community, but don’t feel like you need to say yes to every invitation or event on the calendar. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to experience the holiday season. You don’t have to do every tradition or put up every decoration or bake everything from scratch if that feels overwhelming. Pick what feels life-giving and manageable and do that.
Prioritize Your Health and Well-Being
The holidays often don’t naturally make room for your well-being. You have to do that. Remember that you deserve it! Prioritize getting enough sleep, moving your body in a way that feels life-giving, and eating foods that give you energy and nourishment. Sometimes prioritizing your well-being means saying no. Other times, it requires a little creativity. Maybe it means sneaking away from house guests to do a yoga video or meditation. Maybe it means an extra luxurious nighttime routine. Maybe it means incorporating stress-relieving supplements and essential oils into your day. Maybe it means communicating your needs. Maybe it means adjusting group activities to prioritize your well-being. For example, if you need to move your body but you also want to spend time with family, why not suggest a family walk or hike?
Get Help When You Need It
If you feel like you need help this holiday season, remember that there is absolutely no shame whatsoever in asking for it. If you need help around the house with cleaning, cooking, or planning activities, ask a friend or family member. If you need help shopping for gifts or groceries, ask someone to pick something up for you while they’re out. If you need to talk about what’s on your mind, start the conversation. If you need professional help from a therapist or other caregiver, reach out. Book the session for yourself. Slow down when you need to. Cancel what you need to. The holidays aren’t going anywhere without you.