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.
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.