The holidays are great. They’re full of joy, good memories, tradition and quality time with friends and family. For most, it’s their favorite time of the year. However, they are not always full of just joy. In fact, merry season, full of memories and big events can often be a trigger for stress, anxiety, depression and panic attacks . Even if you love the Christmas season, like me, the big parties, crowds, long to-do list, family gatherings and high expectations, can leave you feeling more than just stressed. Tis’ the season for Xanax!
To keep from reaching your tipping point, it’s crucial take some precautionary steps and keep yourself healthy and happy (or mostly happy) this holiday season.
- Be organized. Make your to-do list and do what has to be done first. When you complete those tasks there will be a huge weight lifted. You’ll feel more productive. You don’t need to be perfect and get it all done, but getting those necessary tasks complete and out of the way will help ease your worries.
- Don’t “do it all”. This is a hard one, especially for the ladies. We want to plan the classroom Christmas party, arrange the office Secret Santa, bake the best pies, wrap the most beautiful gifts, host the biggest bash, make adorable cookies with kids. remember to move the damn Elf every night, order the cutest greeting cards, make all those necessary memories and traditions last with the family, volunteer and set a good example and DO IT ALL, all while looking fabulous, right? But, the truth is, we cannot do it all, and we are killing ourselves trying to be the perfect Mom/employee/friend/daughter/sister/neighbor/Woman. Pick a few of those activities that you are actually passionate about and stick with that and enjoy it.
- Take a break. Seriously. I know there is no time for it, but make the time. You’ve already dropped some of the crappy things from your lists, so use an ounce of that free time to relax. Do you even remember how to relax? Do you read, nap, do yoga, take a walk, get a massage, have a nice long coffee break by yourself? Whatever it is. do it. Turn off your phone and soak up the quiet time. It will do your body good.
- Be healthy. It’s so hard around the holidays, but when you eat junk and sit too much you start to feel like crap. Feeling like crap makes it super easy for all those anxious and bad feelings to sneak back up. So, try, try to be healthy (most of the time). This means eating real food, getting some exercise and actually getting enough sleep.
- Allow some sadness. It’s okay to feel sad, and those feelings certainly shouldn’t be ignored. We can’t help but think of people and memories we miss, changes that have happened over the years and the fact that our kids keep getting older. Allow yourself to feel it, and then make a nice new memory. One of my favorite Christmas memories is spending Christmas Eve at my Grandparents with our entire very large family. There were many traditions and great memories made each year. I miss it dearly, and I miss them. I think about those special times every Christmas Eve and then keep their love and memory alive by continuing some of those traditions, reading a poem my Grandma wrote to Luna and showing the love that they always showed me.
- Laugh as much as possible. Laugh because funny things will happen, ridiculous things will happen and laughing will always make you and the situation better.
- Do what heals you. This goes back to taking a break. What heals your soul? Is it praying? Writing? A Therapist? Baking? Yoga? Whatever it is that calms you and brings you back down to Earth, do it.
- Lose the high expectations. Your family is going to act like your family, always. Don’t expect any different.
- Talk to the people you love. When you do start feeling a little too anxious or really down, do not crawl into that lonely all-by-yourself hole. Allow the people you love and trust in and talk to them, or maybe just a therapist. Just, promise me you’ll talk to someone you trust, someone who will reach out, grab your hand and keep you from tumbling down that rabbit hole.
- Help someone else. This is one of the most important tips. When you are down lift up others, when you are afraid provide comfort for the scared and when you feel weak make someone else feel strong. This is key. This will always keep you grounded.
I hope this helps. I hope each and every one of you are able to feel the love and find some joy this season. Take care of yourselves!