The holiday season is upon us and so is the stress of planning and preparing. It’s common for people to feel anxious, stressed, and even depressed this time of year. These feelings are often compounded if you dealt with a hardship earlier in the year, such as a death or divorce. Keep these 10 tips in mind to help you survive the holidays.
1. Maintain Your Routine
The holidays have a tendency to throw you off your routine but don’t let them! Keep things as routine as you can; eat like you normally do, exercise at the same time, and be sure to keep your sleep routine. Maintaining your normal routine can help keep added stress at bay, which is always a good thing.
2. Stay Connected
Even if you have family visiting for the holidays, it’s important to stay connected with your friends. Make time to connect with them by getting together for lunch, an evening out, or simply by calling them. Your friends are an outlet for you to discuss your frustrations and you can be sure they’ll give you their honest opinion about the situation.
3. Throw Out Perfection
There’s no such thing as a perfect holiday or family. All of us have an idea of what we would like the holidays to be like, but it’s important to be realistic. Families disagree, children misbehave, turkeys burn and it’s okay! Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by thinking that the holidays will be without incident. Sometimes, it’s things like this that make the holidays more memorable. Expect a few bumps in the road because it’s much better to be surprised than disappointed.
Don’t put added stress or pressure on yourself to be happy. Enjoying the holidays is going to make you happy! It’s okay to feel what you want to feel during the holidays. Even if you’re hosting this year, take time relax and unwind.
5. Ask for Help
Asking for help takes strength and courage so don’t be afraid to do it! If you feel like you’ve committed to too much, ask family and friends to help lighten your load.
6. Say No
It’s okay to say no at any time. If you don’t want to do something or you don’t have the time, energy, or other resources to do it, just say no. It’s okay to remove yourself from situations and people that don’t enhance your qualities. It’s your holiday, too. Enjoy it!
7. Everything in Moderation
Just because it’s a special occasion doesn’t mean you can go overboard. Eat and drink in moderation instead of to excess. It’s easy to feel like eating and drinking dull the pain of the holidays but it only makes it worse.
8. Focus on Today
It’s called the present because we live here. We don’t live in the past so don’t worry yourself with it. Let go of what happened yesterday so you can focus on today and how to make it great!
9. Take Care of Yourself
It’s easy to lose yourself in the midst of the holiday chaos but it’s important to remember to take care of you, too. Take a walk in the crisp cool air to clear your mind and to help keep you calm.
10. Enjoy Your Family
Even if your family frustrates you, see the best in them. Find positive characteristics and focus on them instead of their negative traits. Changing your outlook can make all the difference to you enjoying or dreading the holidays.
The holidays are full of mixed emotions and I’m here to help you cope with all of them. Let’s work together to develop effective coping strategies so that you can enjoy this holiday season!
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff is trained in Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology in New York, and can help you mentally prepare for the holidays. If you are looking for more information, please feel free to contact us via email. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 917-609-4990.
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff