Tips to Help Your Holidays Feel Less ‘Run Rudolph Run’ and More ‘Silent Night’
by MATT COBBLE
It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us once more. As wonderful as it is to head back to the holiday celebrations after so long apart due to the pandemic, there is always the possibility that all the social engagements can begin to feel overwhelming. With that in mind, here are our top ten tips to keep your stress levels down and enjoy the season.
- Don’t overfill your plate.
If you haven’t already started receiving invitations to holiday get-togethers or “can’t miss” events, they will start pouring in soon. This time of year, it is exceptionally easy to overbook your calendars by committing to every event that comes along. This year, consider paring down your plans, focusing on quality, not quantity.
- Agree to disagree.
Holidays mean family. And although the annual visit with the relatives can bring a fair amount of joy, sometimes personal differences can get in the way of enjoying the time together. While some healthy debate can make family get-togethers more lively, it may be a good starting point to avoid contentious conversations about topics that may be incendiary in your situation. If you feel that conflict is unavoidable, perhaps take time to meet family members individually rather than in a group setting.
- Be content.
So often, we see what other people are doing and we feel like we are missing something by not having what they have. Social media has made this type of constant comparisons even worse by making all of our friends’ and relatives’ “highlight reels” available with a click. But your holiday celebrations should be about your own enjoyment, not about filling your social feeds.
- Take time for yourself.
As your calendar begins to fill up, remember to leave yourself some room to breathe. Consider scheduling some down time — get a massage, drive around to look at decorations or plan an evening where you sit on the couch and stream your favorite holiday movie.
- Stick to a budget.
It can be quite tempting to continually swipe the credit card as you get into the holiday season, but that could lead to a very rude awakening when the bill comes due in January. Instead, sit down now and plan out how much you can afford to spend — and stick to it! This should keep your “sticker shock” to a minimum. (If you want to get a jump start on this for next year, consider getting a “holiday club account,” putting aside money all year long to fund your holiday expenses.)
- Get some sun.
Spending time outdoors is a necessity for our body’s healthy function. Sunlight stimulates the production of Vitamin D and serotonin, and experts say sunlight can help stave off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder more prevalent in the winter months. As an added bonus, the Florida heat is not quite as intense during this time of year, so your time outdoors may be more enjoyable.
- Extend your festivities.
There is no rule that you must celebrate in December exclusively. You can plan your holiday events in a way that most benefits you. Better yet, you may have less trouble getting reservations the second week of January than if you tried to squeeze everything in by New Year’s Day.
- Delegate where you can.
As the activities and responsibilities begin to stack up, it’s easy to want to oversee everything. Chances are, you are surrounded by a number of people capable of shouldering part of the responsibility. Having people over for a meal? Consider asking guests to bring their favorite sides, pot-luck style, rather than cooking a full feast yourself. Get the kids involved with cleaning and decorating, or even consider getting your purchases gift-wrapped by the stores to save you the hassle.
- Keep up with routines.
With so much going on this time of year, it can be easy to skip over some of the healthier habits. Remember to get an appropriate amount of sleep, eat healthier meals and snacks when possible, and work some physical activities into your days.
- Reach out if you need help. The above tips can only get you so far. If you find yourself truly struggling this holiday season, there is no shame in putting your needs first. Talk to a medical or mental health professional to get the help you need.