The holidays can be a great time to reunite with family and friends, relax, and recharge. Of course, even during a typical holiday season, extra travel, shopping, entertaining, and memories of lost loved ones can trigger negative emotions. Add in the fact that COVID continues to be prevalent in people’s lives, the stress level during the holiday season can feel overwhelming. Not forgetting the pressures that many tend to put on themselves to make these grand resolutions that usually leave people feeling inadequate and full of self-doubt. It’s a lot.
Stepping away and remembering that your happiness matters every single day will help you during these stressful times. You are a priority every day, regardless of the season or holiday that is approaching. Read on for a list of tips to help you make YOU a priority.
Keep Up With Healthy Habits
Don’t put anything aside that helps you feel like you. If your schedule starts to fill up with activities outside of your normal routine, or you start feeling stressed or indifferent, step back and refocus yourself on what matters most. If attending that spin class keeps you sane, then you keep that spin class. You do not need to be bullied or pressured to attend events that interfere with things that bring you peace. This goes the same for things that interfere with your sleep habits, your diet, or the festivities that you want to attend. Family gatherings can bring an abundance of yummy and unhealthy foods. They can keep you up late at night causing you to lose a great amount of sleep. Many were told things like, “but it’s the holiday season” and, “you have to make it to midnight on New Year.” No, you don’t. The only thing you have to do is make your mental and physical health a priority.
Recognize Your Feelings and Be Realistic
First of all, you are not required to be jolly nor are you required to put yourself in debt to give anyone a present. Forcing yourself, or pulling yourself in every different direction is not only unrealistic, but it is going to have serious negative effects on your mental health. When you start to feel overwhelmed, recognize those feelings and don’t force yourself to power through them. There is no law or rule that states you have to be merry or show face at every family function this holiday season. Also, when making new years resolutions (if you choose to do that), make the resolution(s) attainable. Forcing yourself to lose 20lbs by Valentine’s Day can bring on serious mental and physical health risks. Always strive to make your goals realistic and attainable.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
So many times you attend things out of obligation. You don’t want to let your friends and family down, so you show up even though you truly don’t want to be there. You do this because, honestly, it feels like it’s just easier to avoid confrontation or conflict. It’s okay to skip out on something. It’s okay to say “I’m not going to keep up with the holiday norms” to the people who care about you. Come from a loving and honest place, and they’ll understand. Your boundaries and health should be considered, despite holiday season norms. Just because it’s the holiday season, doesn’t mean our needs aren’t a priority. The holidays come and go, but your mental health and sanity are something you need to care for your whole life. Setting up healthy boundaries by learning to say no to anything that makes us feel uneasy or uncomfortable is one of the best ways to keep YOU a priority.
Don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself. If you have a support system, utilize it. Sometimes having a shopping buddy, or carpooling with someone can alleviate excess stress, but make sure to discuss exit plans before you get to the event. By having a discussion and expressing your expectations ahead of time, you can avoid being stuck somewhere longer than you intended. Reach out to friends and family when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Maintaining an open and honest relationship about your feelings needs to be normalized. You deserve to be able to speak freely and openly about your struggles no matter what time of year it is.
Remember you are not alone. So many people are feeling overwhelmed and stressed during this time of year. Chances are, someone close to you is struggling too, so reach out and share your feelings. You never know, you might spark a conversation with a relative or friend who is feeling isolated and internally miserable. That venting session might be exactly what the both of you need.
Spending time with your loved ones celebrating this beautiful season can be merry, but once those holiday expectations and obligations start piling on, the holidays start to become stressful. Maybe you’re juggling buying those thoughtful gifts for your family members, finishing up that end-of-year report at work, or trying to make your house guest-ready, all at once. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed with flights to make it to events and family gatherings – the cost, the stress of travel during the holidays, it just becomes too much. Let’s change that by making us a priority. By setting healthy boundaries and learning to say no to things that do not serve us in a positive manner. No one should have to push their needs aside because it’s the holidays. Choose you and make you a priority. If you’re struggling with mental health issues this holiday season, reach out to Sober Life Recovery now. Call (619) 542-9542 today.