With the holiday season just around the corner, and after the year that we have had, you might find that some unwanted thoughts, pressure and demands start to come to the front. We have pulled together some tips that may assist in making the holiday season a happy and relaxing time.
The holidays often present a dizzying array of demands — cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, kids home from school and constant entertaining, just to name just a few.
But with some practical tips, you can aim towards minimising some of the stress that sometimes accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.
Tips to assist you getting through the holiday season
1. Acknowledge your feelings. This year is going to be slightly different for everyone, so take the time to acknowledge how you are feeling and make time for yourself. Go for a walk, relax on the beach, or treat yourself to a little present.
2. Reach out. If you find yourself alone this holiday season, reach out to your community via a church, local council or community group and connect with other who may be alone also. There may be community groups that are looking for volunteers to assist on Christmas Day. Also remember to keep in touch with family or friends during this time. If you can’t visit them, you can always text, call or video chat with them.
3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. Why not start some new traditions, for example instead of spending lots of money on buying presents for everyone, have a Secret Santa, where you all get an amount you can spend up to, so everyone gets a surprise present, or if you cannot be together, why not partake in a virtual game together. Even though your plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate.
4. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
5. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, processed food or drinks.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
- Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
- Be aware of how continuous news cycle can produce undue stress, and adjust the time you spend reading news and social media as you see fit.
6. Take some ‘me’ time. Make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Some options may include:
- Taking a walk at night and stargazing
- Listening to soothing music
- Reading a book
7. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores.
If these feelings last for a while, help is available. Talk to you Support Worker, Lifeline, Beyond Blue or your GP.
Take control of the holidays
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to assist you in managing your stresses and emotions that can sometimes creep up. Learn to recognise your triggers i.e., Christmas shopping crowds, financial pressures, personal demands or pressure to see family and friends, so you can put in place some coping mechanisms.
With a little planning, positive thinking and ensuring you make time for ‘downtime’, you can find peace and joy during the holiday season too.