1. Know Your Limits
Don’t over commit! It is alright to avoid too many events, events that will be hectic, and especially events that may not be happy or healthy for you to be at. Even if you feel obligated to be at something that you may not want to be at, try to have coping skills to possible triggers you may encounter while there. The most important thing is remembering to keep time for you. Another good back up plan is to invite friends or family to your house, or somewhere you feel safe, to spend time together.
“If you're feeling stressed about having to deal with family: Come up with a list of things you can use to redirect the conversation as quickly as possible, and memorize them (nobody wants to talk about politics during the holidays, Uncle Jim).” –Briana H.
2. Keep It Simple
Try to enjoy the holidays for what they are, as much as you can. The little things mean the most. This can be a hard thing for many people, so when you get stressed, try to bring yourself back to simplicity. Do things that make you happy, and celebrate the seasons the ways that feel the best to you. There are so many ways to enjoy the happiness around the holiday season through the many stressors that also surround it. Some ideas could be; having a holiday movie night, walking around your town to look at all of the decorations, ice skate, drink hot chocolate, and listen to holiday music.
“Simplicity--saying no as often a possible (in a nice way).” –Sally S.
3. Keep Your Routine
Although the holidays call for very busy schedules, it is very important that we don’t deviate from our everyday, healthy, routines. If you don’t eat junk food, don’t gorge yourself with holiday treats, you may feel bad afterwards. If you have an exercise routine you do daily, keep up with it. That would actually help you even more with holiday stress. If you don’t drink, don’t start now. If you have a sleep schedule, keep up with it. This will also help balance your brain to better handle the stress. Keeping up with your routine is healthy and important. If you neglect it, it will be hard to get back into it after the holidays are over.
“I try to avoid stress by planning ahead and keeping the celebrations small. I avoid alcohol and maintain my routine diet and exercise at this time to stay balanced.” -Shannon Y.
4. Manage Your Time
Try to give yourself a schedule or to do list. If you get overwhelmed by the chaos of holiday or present shopping, go in the beginning of the season to beat the crowds. You could also try to homemade presents this year to stray away from the crowds of the stores (like a scrapbook or homemade craft for loved ones). Find ways to make the wrapping fun, like wrapping your gifts with a friend. Time management is key to keeping on track, but also reminding yourself that you cannot do it all.
“I buy gifts as soon as I can, to get that out of the way. Then I sit back and enjoy the season. This helps with anxiety.” -Cassie Z.
5. Be Creative
Part of enjoying the holiday season is taking a break from our busy schedules to enjoy the colors, music, and cheer among us. Try setting up days, either by yourself or with friends, where you can make holiday crafts, homemade holiday deserts, or decorations to use. This can be a fun way to elevate your stress and bring out your creative side. Doing creative activities helps us relax and can actually make us happier.
“Being creative helps, like baking cookies, making homemade decorations, watching holiday movies, making meaningful gifts, etc.” –Amber G.
6. Spend Time Doing What You Love
Make sure you are doing things that are making you happy and that you enjoy doing. With the many fun holiday activities that exist, you need to find ones that work for you. Surrounding yourself with people that know what you are going through is also important to staying positive. These people can help you if need be, and simply can just cheer you up. With all of the stress around this season, the last thing you need is to be around people that may not understand, or to be doing something that you are not enjoying.
“I focus on the little things that make me happy. I love snow and winter, so I focus on that. I love seeing all of the holiday decorations, and of course, all of the holiday food. Just staying positive and remembering it's a time for fun and happiness helps me get through it.” –Carly S.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Break Traditions
Traditions can be fun holiday activities we pass on from year to year, sometimes throughout our families’ history! However, if a tradition no longer is serving you or your family, it is alright to let it go. You could try replacing a new activity in its place, or even removing it completely is fine too. Positive traditions can also exist with friends- it is also important to remember that anyone we love can be family!
“If you're really dreading doing some 'tradition', maybe... don't do it? The holidays are supposed to be fun. Do what would be fun for you and your family. Remember: Family isn't just blood. There's nothing wrong with sitting around with friends during the holidays.” -Briana H.