Are the holidays stressing you out? You are not the only one. From gift-giving to meal prep and everything in between, feeling overwhelmed is natural. However, this does not have to keep you from enjoying yourself. Check out these tips on how you can worry less and enjoy more during the holidays:
Determine your comfort zone
Before you start putting together your guest list, ask yourself if you feel comfortable attending a holiday event. Some factors that may have you think twice before RSVPing include being in recovery or wanting to limit your social interactions due to the ongoing pandemic. Once you can answer that question, it will be easier to know what to expect and how to mentally prepare yourself.
One thing that definitely does not help lower your anxiety levels during this time of year is feeling that you are not prepared. The uncertainty of “can I get this done?” and the many what-ifs that enter your mind can be quite burdensome. That is why it is important to lay everything out on the table so you can assess your concerns since anxiety feeds on uncertainty. One way you can shine a light on the stressful elephant in the room is to write down what you have to do. This will take the ambiguity out of the situation and help you determine what you need to do to cross each task off your to-do list.
Create a budget
It is easy to get lost in the holiday spirit and ignore the price tags in order to buy the perfect gift. While your heart is in the right place, you can still be thoughtful without hurting your wallet. Write down a list of everyone that you are giving a gift to. Next, think of the maximum that you can spend and refrain from going over. No one is going to want you to give them a gift if it keeps you from paying for the essentials like food or housing. Know that a larger price tag does not necessarily make something a better gift so consider making one instead. You can even cook or bake something like your favorite holiday dish. Remember, it is the thought that counts, and regardless of what you give, the recipient will appreciate it because it came from you.
While the phrase “food is fuel” may sound like a cliché, it is true. What you put into your body can determine your energy levels, especially when you will be spending so much of it preparing for the holidays. Therefore, it is important to be mindful when enjoying your festive feasts. You can still enjoy your favorite seasonal treats but do so in moderation. Anxiety can lead to emotional eating which in turn can make you feel demotivated and cause you to drop the ball on other parts of your life. One question that can help you determine if you should indulge is the following: Is this food helping me be my best self? No one knows you better than you so trust your gut when deciding whether to have a second helping or not.
Find time to de-stress
During the holidays, stress is one of the biggest energy zappers. Whether you are in a time crunch or have time to spare, it is psychologically vital that you are prepared to manage any stress you may encounter. When time is not on your side, listen to a song that makes you feel good or drink something soothing like tea as you go about your task. When you do have some downtime, try spending it productively on activities like working out or cleaning your home. You can also create a gratitude list to offset the negatives that may come to mind in times of stress.
Be ready for anything
While being ready for anything might sound impossible, you can still get yourself prepared to handle the moments when life gets messy. For example, if you are cooking a family favorite meal that usually takes two hours, give yourself an extra 30 minutes. While travel is less of a factor this year than it usually is, you still may have plans to visit someone for the holidays. Since Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes, have some contingencies in case you have to adjust your travel plans. Preparedness can also come in handy for gift giving. Have you ever forgot to bring a gift for a white elephant? Keep a few gift cards on you just in case.
Although this holiday season may be unprecedented, the stress that comes with this time of year is not. By applying the tips above, you can manage the challenging emotions that come with the season and get back to enjoying quality time with loved ones. So, stay safe and keep calm. You got this!