The holiday season can be stressful on so many levels. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year. But what if it isn’t? I’ve got a love / hate relationship with Christmas. Although this year, I am actually looking forward to it, it’s certainly not always been that way. And looking after your well-being during the holidays is so important and something I’ve come to realise that not only I need to do – but everyone does.

Looking After Your Well-Being During the Holidays

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Christmas is stressful. It’s built up and built up and built up for months on end, boils down to one day and then we’re all left clear away the physical, financial and mental mess afterwards. I know, that’s a bit dramatic but essentially, that’s what it is. It’s no wonder our well-being can end up in tatters during the holiday season!

I promised I wouldn’t be a Scrooge anymore so yes, Christmas is stressful. But it can also be wonderful and magical. But only if we keep our well-being in check along the way:

Don’t compare your Christmas to what you see on Pinterest

I’ve put this point first because personally, I think it’s the most important. And not just Pinterest – any social media really. We are inundated with the “perfect” images every single day online. Posed, staged and sometimes fake images to portray a certain look. And whilst these images might be visually beautiful…

They’re not real.

And it can be all to easy to fall into the trap of comparing your own Christmas and holiday season to the perfect images you see on Pinterest. Remember, the perfect Christmas doesn’t exist. Nobody is going to post a photo of their family arguments, burnt Christmas puds and Uncle Dave throwing up on their favourite shoes.

Focus on your self care

Mental, physical, spiritual, intellectual. Focus on all areas of your self care during the holidays; it’s just as important as any other time of the year. Now is not the time to be neglecting them. I know everyone is busy and there’s so much to do during this time of year but you can’t pour from an empty cup. There’s no point becoming too busy getting everything done that you’re too exhausted to enjoy it afterwards. Don’t forget to take care of your basic needs too.

Stay on top of things

However, I do appreciate that there IS a lot to do during the Christmas. Looking after your well-being during the holidays means looking after everything and your schedule and to-do list is included in that. I’m big on organization; being organized helps me stay much more stress free, especially during periods like Christmas.

As best you can, stay on top of things, keep organized, plan and schedule in advance and for the love of Jesus don’t leave your Christmas shopping until the last minute!

Keep track of your finances

Yep… your financial well-being needs looking after too. And this is the one that can definitely take a big hit during the holiday season. With so much going on all around the same time; Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving (if you’re across the pond), Christmas and New Year, it’s no wonder so many of us worry about money during the final quarter of the year.

Ignore, mute and block diet culture content online

Ugh. I’m not going to go too much into this because this is a WHOLE other argument for another post but if there’s ever a time where everyone and everything is so focused on food, what we’re eating, what we’re drinking and what weight we’re gaining, it’s the holidays (and after). Diet culture is toxic at the best of times. It is NOT the time to be making people feel guilty about eating a mince pie (or any time of year).

Learn to say no (and don’t feel guilty for it)

There’s so much pressure to be involved in things over the holidays. Friends and family are back in town, there’s events, parties and get-together’s happening all over the place. Having suffered with anxiety for years, I know how hard it can be when people are expecting you to be there and be present but your mental health is screaming no.

Learning to say no and not feel guilty about it is one of the most liberating things you can do. It can be tough, sure. Especially if it’s family related. But at the end of the day, if people loved you, they’d understand if you had to say no to something for the sake of your own well-being.

A little gratitude goes a long way

And finally… don’t forget to express a lil gratitude when you have a moment of peace. For yourself, for everything you’ve made it through this year, for anything you’ve learnt, for the people who love you and for your higher being – whoever or whatever that is to you. A little gratitude really goes a long way, especially during stressful times.

How are you planning on looking after your well-being during the holidays? Any special tips or tricks you can share? Let me know in the comments!

95 Comments

  1. This is all such great advice–advice that I should definitely follow. How would you feel about my sharing a link to your post on my blog? I’m planning on doing that in the next week or so (maybe sooner), provided of course that it’s okay with you.

  2. This is such a great post! You had me with the first one–don’t compare! That can certainly add on a lot of unneeded stress and anxiety. Pinterest is good for inspiration but it’s not a measuring tool.

  3. Perfect advice!!! The holidays seem to be sucking the life out of me!! It’s supposed to be a happy time, dang it!!!

  4. I think remembering to say no and not to push yourself is so important. There seems to be so much more obligation at Christmas and combined with your general anxiety, the guilt of not going tends to make you feel much worse! I had a panic attack on Christmas day a few years ago and I tried my best to sit through it in the living room with my in-laws but in the end I had to admit defeat and go up to bed. I felt awful for bailing but in that moment it was what I needed to do and once I removed myself from the situation I felt so much better. Great tips, something we should all bear in mind for the festive season! Xx

  5. I love your suggestions here, Jenny. I find Christmas to be so stressful, and this year even more than others. But I’m pulling away this year, I’m stepping back from those that make it hard and focusing on my own wee family, and my own traditions.

  6. So ive been taking a break the past week because i was so run down and i feel great. I work full time and blog and always try too much. So this week ive just went to work and enjoyed my time after and its been really nice haha

  7. On the flip side of diet culture, I’d add that it’s also bad manners to ask invasive questions on someone’s eating preferences/diets/restrictions, etc.

    I’m low carb for health reasons and I’m just dreading the inevitable “Why aren’t you eating any of this amazing pie I made??” comments.

  8. This is such important advice. Christmas can often feel incredibly stressful for me, I feel like I’m being pulled in every direction in order to make other people happy and never really doing what I’d like to do. I also really worry about money! It’s such an expensive time of year. It can be hard when there’s pressure to be cheery and happy, so these tips are fantastic for being gentle with yourself. Another brilliant post 🙂 x

  9. This is great advice. Money and parties increase my anxiety this time of year. My mom wants me there for thanksgiving and christmas every year. I am expected to bring gifts and have fun when it’s hard to. The only planning I do is Christmas gift shopping. I hate doing it too.

    Great advice

  10. I’m not a huge fan of Christmas but I love to splurge on others. I like to gift, always have but not just at Christmas. So, looking after the finances is something I always need to do. I think a lot of people really struggle through the festive period and looking after your own well being is just so important!

    Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post

  11. Couldn’t agree more! Keeping on top of your self care and finances is so important, I know loads of people who skint themselves in the name of having a Pinterest worthy Christmas. While I admit it would be very nice, it’s just not realistic – at least not in less than 3 months!
    Bella x

  12. Nice positive outlook on not losing yourself during the holidays. The main tip that resonated with me was the power of ‘no’. I have a tendency to do things for family members even though I’m not in the mood. I’m realizing it’s better to say ‘no’ than say ‘yes’ and your heart is not in it. Thanks for the great points!

    Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com

  13. Yikes, you really called me out in the first one! I am forever comparing myself to Pinterest and goodness knows how much I actually spend on Christmas decorations trying to make my place look just as magical (and when it doesn’t I just go in a downwards spiral). I also find it especially hard to say no during festive period as I hate letting anyone down!

  14. You’ve made some really important points here Jenny. Self care can definitely be forgotten in the chaos/excitement of Christmas. I always get stressed because I eave everything to the last minute. I’m definitely going to change that this year!

    Eve x

  15. This is such a great reminder and I’m sure it will help a lot of people who feel stressed and anxious around this time of year. Although I don’t celebrate personally, I can imagine how these worries crop up especially in terms of finance and diet culture, ugh that irritates me so much! I think people should be able to eat whatever they want at any time but especially when they’re celebrating and just want to enjoy their day. Thanks so much for sharing this much needed Jenny xx

  16. I love Christmas, but I do sometimes find it stressful.

    My birthday is the week before Christmas so I always try to get my Christmas shopping done before then. I’ve found that if I start it in November then it’s easier to spread out my finances too. And it means I’m not rushing around the shops the week before Christmas trying to find last-minute gifts!

  17. Say it louder for the people in the back! It’s so easy to get caught up in Christmas and forget to take care of your well-being, and as a result, you ring in the New Year broke and miserable.

  18. Christmas can be stressful even when you want to make sure it isn’t. I always stress about spending enough, even when it’s not even about that. I have been good this year though keeping on top and not over spending for the sake of it. Thank you for sharing these tips Jenny xxx

  19. I work in retail so it’s been hard to enjoy the last few Christmases but your right about social media presenting the perfect Christmas being toxic. The other day I saw a brand that made a “healthy” advent calendar looking for bloggers to promote it so I looks like the diet industry has already started

    Ash | thisdreamsalive.com

  20. I’ll be nearing the end of my third trimester this Christmas so I am definitely taking advantage of the option of saying no! Though I shouldn’t feel the need for an excuse to put my health first, pregnancy sure is providing a convenient one…

    1. Oh gosh and you’ve got a very valid excuse to say no too! But yes, you absolutely don’t need excuses. Your well-being always comes first, ESPECIALLY when you’re pregnant! If people don’t understand that, it’s their problem x

  21. These are great advice! You can get lost into the christmas prep and not realized how much you are spending. I forbid anyone to talk to me about diet or how much i am gonna eat over christmas. Christmas is indeed stressful and it is important to take a step back and relax.

  22. This is honestly such an important post, it’s so easy to forget about yourself in the festive period it’s ridiculous. Thankyou for sharing

  23. Learning to say no and not leaving the Christmas shopping to the last minute are the two takeaways I’m focussing on here! Seriously though, looking after my wellbeing at Christmas is so important, this year in particular as I won’t have as much time off as the last couple of years. So what time I do have free I really want to make count and enjoy. Great tips,Jenny, thank you! xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  24. My top tip is less is definitely more, the best Christmases we’ve had as a family were ones were one of us was ill (not so great) but we did nothing but hung out together and enjoyed just little things like all watching a movie with snacks or sitting with the kids building up a toy set or avoiding crowds, queues, traffic etc by just staying put and being chilled. Not a good choice for everyone but I learned to let go of FOMO many years ago and it works best for us

  25. Christmas can be so exhausting!! Even looking at our calendar for the next seven weeks freaks me out as we have so much planned already! eek!! xx

  26. I agree, holidays can be stressful and you got really nice tips. I think we may get distracted with how amazing stuff when shopping and don’t pay attention to our finance and taking care of it is must during shopping for holiday like Christmas