The holiday season often brings with it a flurry of activity. Once we get wrapped up in tree and cookie decorating, parties and pageants, neighborhood caroling or committing to various gift exchanges and events, we’re suddenly busier now than in everyday life. With all of this also come the expectation for us to spend time spreading holiday cheer with friends, family and our community. We are left wondering, “Where does the time go?"
Keeping all of this in mind, there are some simple tips for practicing self care as holiday stress makes its way down the chimney this year. (And don’t forget, these tricks work all year long!)
Be Good to Yourself
Yes, the holidays are about sharing time with loved ones, but giving yourself a little “me time” along the way is a gift to those around you as well. For the sake of your emotional and physical health, overcome the tendency to over commit.
You don’t have to attend every single gathering to which you’re invited. It’s okay to say no sometimes. Likewise, it’s healthy to create relaxing seasonal moments for yourself—an afternoon nap by the holiday tree, an evening drive to see the neighborhood lights, meeting a best friend at the coffee shop for a peppermint mocha. Nobody wants to deck the halls with someone exhausted by the season.
Like a glass of eggnog left out too long, holiday time can turn sour when the focus is on buying rather than being. Notice the amazing gifts before us now: family, freedom, another year, this very day. Take on a “half full” mentality rather than a “half empty” one.
Yes, exchanging gifts can be a fun and thoughtful activity, but don’t be afraid to confound the culture of consumerism with a shorter wish list and a longer amount of time spent celebrating relationships. Things work better when we love people more than things.
Be at Peace
Finally, relax. Just breathe . . . that’s your only must-do. Take a breath and find the beauty in this shining season of peace, joy and love.
The decorations and desserts don’t have to be perfect, and neither does the singing, the wrapping or the stockings hung with care. Imperfection often makes for the best stories.
Don’t say “yes” to holiday stress. Be good to yourself; be grateful; be at peace. It can make for a happier and healthier start to 2016.
Lisa Eggebeen, LCSW is Director for Crisis Management and Suicide Prevention at Centerstone