As strange as it seems, the holidays are somehow about to be upon us. October flew by and before we could finish saying, “Trick or treat,” it has become time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time of year can bring up a whole litany of emotions ranging from joy and gratitude to depression and anxiety. Even in the best-case scenarios, the holidays can be exhausting.
Here are my tips for a smoother, less stressful holiday season:
1. Schedule rest. Put it on the calendar. In pen. Knowing that you will have a day or two or even a couple of hours where you can pause and just be in the midst of all the holiday craziness can do wonders for lightening your mental load. Having rest will make all of the other items on your holiday calendar more enjoyable by increasing your ability to be present and connected.
2. Set boundaries. Setting boundaries with your family members helps create a holiday season that you can enjoy and be emotionally present in. That might mean shutting down your aunt’s comments about weight, limiting time with certain family members, or even setting a strict budget on what you will spend on gifts. Necessary boundaries will look different for each of us, but they will universally free up valuable emotional energy.
3. Prioritize your favorite traditions. Naming what is the most important to you and your family makes sure you make time for the things that bring you the most joy. As calendars fill up, make sure that the things you love about the holidays happen.
4. Let go of the “perfect” holiday. Even with all the prioritizing and boundary setting, there will inevitably be moments that are less than ideal throughout the holiday season. You and your family are far more likely to remember how the holidays felt than if your meal was perfect or if you got to church on time. Letting go of the details to enjoy your friends and family will always be worth it. And who knows, maybe the fact that your reindeer pancakes ended up looking like the Abominable Snowman will be a cherished family memory? (Not speaking from experience here, of course.)
5. Remember you don’t have to do it alone. The holidays can be tough. You might need some extra support to handle the stress or family members. It is okay to ask for what you need.
With these ideas in mind and practice, we at Remain Connected hope to support you in creating a joy- and peace-filled holiday season.