The holiday season is supposed to be full of peace, joy, and happiness—right?
Then how come you often feel frazzled and dizzy just thinking of all the demands parties, shopping, baking, and entertaining put on you?
And why do you shudder at the thought of all the obnoxious and unwelcome “guests” that invite themselves to your home?
Instead of joy and happiness, you may feel as if a dark cloud has slowly been cast over you, and you just want to disappear into a tiny hole.
Holiday stress can really ruin the season.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Consider a few practical tips to help you reduce that looming dark cloud to a little fluffy puff on the horizon.
9 Tips for Weathering the Holiday Blues
When you’re engulfed by stress, it’s hard to collect yourself and think clearly. The best thing to do is to try and prevent the stress in the first place.
1. Be reasonable
Instead of perfectionistic try being realistic. Life changes, so should traditions. They should grow with your family and make your family happy, not become ritualistic and rigidly stay the same all the time. Traditions are something to cherish but not run your life by no matter what. Rather, select a few to hold on to and stay open to creating your own.
2. Refuse to quarrel
It may be hard to set differences aside and accept friends and family as they are. Quarreling will only ruin your time together. So, put aside what you think your guests should act like and show some understanding. Maybe they also feel the effects of the holiday blues, just like you.
3. Have a plan
Organize a pre-emptive strike on the holiday tasks to prevent a last-minute rush. Make a plan and schedule specific days when you’ll do your baking, shopping, visiting, and entertaining. Put together a shopping list for your menus and stick to it.
4. Keep within your budget
That plan should also include sticking to a budget. Decide how much you can spend and stay within that amount, no matter if you’re tempted by something special or not. Also, remember that tangible gifts don’t necessarily mean happiness. Giving can include donating money to a worthy cause as well.
5. Avoid overindulging
We all fall prey to the temptation of eating way too much when we’re having a good time or when we don’t want to hurt aunt Annie’s feelings for not trying her famous pie. Abandoning healthy habits only leads to guilt… and, in turn, to more stress. Instead, keep physically active and get plenty of sleep. You can still have a small piece of the pie, but make sure you don’t go overboard with the sweets and rather turn to healthier alternatives.
6. Say “no”
You’re only one you. It’s impossible for you to be everywhere and participate in every activity. When your friends and family ask you to come to their parties, make sure you don’t overschedule yourself. You can say “no.” The same goes for when your boss wants you to work overtime. Keep your agenda balanced.
7. Make time for yourself
In the same line, make sure you’ve got time for yourself in your busy schedule as well. Take a breather, spend a little time alone, get some fresh air or a massage, listen to music, and remove the distractions. If you don’t find a way to clear your mind and restore your inner calm, you’ll suffer from overload soon enough.
8. Seek to help out others
On the other hand, if your holiday blues are due to you feeling alone, change your strategy and seek out support and companionship. Maybe you can even reach out and volunteer to help others in need. Giving of yourself can really lift your spirit and build friendships.
9. Allow yourself to feel sad
In case it’s even worse, and your blues stem from the resurfacing memory of a loved one that you have lost, feelings of isolation can become an even bigger problem. Give yourself the permission to feel sad. Acknowledge your feelings and that it’s normal to grieve, especially in times when you miss their presence the most. Never force yourself to make a show of happiness just because the season supposedly calls for joy.
If you apply some of the above-mentioned tips, you can learn to take control of your holiday blues by preventing the stress in the first place or combating triggers before they cause you a meltdown.
Yes, with a little planning and forethought, you can actually find peace, joy, and happiness during the holiday season.