Destressing During The Holidays

 

As merry and bright as the holiday season is supposed to be, it is also a source of great stress for many. There are gifts to buy, halls to deck, and gatherings to plan and attend. The pressure for everything to be perfect and Instagram-worthy in this age of social media is insurmountable. Everything feels like a competition and it may feel as if your holiday guests are silently judging every pain-staking decision you've made and obsessed over. It's exhausting. But it doesn't have to be. I'm here to remind you to destress.

My first bit of advice to you is to take breaks. I began attending weekly therapy sessions through Betterhelp in early December of last year. During one of my very first sessions, my therapist reminded me to take breaks during holiday gatherings. Yes, breaks from your family. Although we all love our families, they can sometimes be... well, a lot. Taking a few moments to step away from the chaos made all the difference in my life and my mental health last year and I have been practicing this little reminder all year long. No one will miss you and no one will need you for just five minutes, and you will be able to return a healthier and happier human.

Secondly, don't sweat the small stuff. For me last year, the small thing was holiday cards. I kept meaning to get a perfectly posed photo of my husband and I and our sweet pup for our Christmas card. I had the very best intentions, but it just never happened. Finally, I broke it down to this: I'm breaking my back over a Christmas card that MUST be sent out, where it will hang on my loved one's fridge for two weeks if I'm lucky and then wind up in the trash. WHY???? I saved some money, time, and a whole lot of stress by skipping it, and guess what? No one missed it. 

Don't overcommit. By this, I mean, don't be afraid to say no! My husband and I typically have three different families to make the rounds to every holiday. We used to kill ourselves squeezing in all three families in one day so no one felt left out. But all that actually happened was that my husband and I were angry and exhausted and someone was still mad at us at the end of the day. This year, I'm in my third trimester of my pregnancy and we have set some healthy boundaries for our familial expectations. We are seeing one family per day over the course of the holiday weekend and if any feelings are hurt, I'm rolling with it!

Lastly, I urge you to practice lots and lots of self care. Remember that you are only one person and you're doing the best you can. 2020 has been a trying year for all. Please give yourself grace and be patient and kind to yourself. Make sure you rest, hydrate, and get plenty of sunlight. After all, you're really just a house plant with more complicated emotions. Happy Holidays, my friends. Be well.

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