We all know the holiday season is going to look a little different this year. 2020 has thrown us all for a loop, and that includes these next few months.
The holidays can be a tricky time for people. I imagine this year will be even trickier. So here are a few tips to help you stay sane during these last months of 2020.
Yes, we’re talking about self-care. Again. Because it’s vital, and twice as much so during the stress of the holidays.
Between organizing virtual get-togethers, cooking for your own family at home, online shopping for gifts, and where in theworld is that dang potato masher, things are hectic, to say the least.
That’s why it’s so important toprioritize your self-care. You don’t have to have a crazy complicated routine, either. Self-care can be incredibly simple and the benefits are enormous.
Take just a few minutes every week (better yet, every day) to do something that soothes and grounds you. It will extend into every other facet of your life.
This one is sort of like self-care, but I think it’s so important it’s getting its own category.
It’s also one of the things that’s the first to go during the busy-ness of the holiday season. It can be very tempting to cruise through the drive-thru instead of cooking. There are times that’s just all you can do, and that’s okay.
However, you’ll feel so much more prepared to handle the season with healthful, nourishing foods in your belly. Consider batch-cooking on Sunday so you can microwave for the rest of the week. Get into overnight oats or freeze a few breakfast burritos to make the mornings a snap.
Exercise goes hand-in-hand with this. It doesn’t have to be an hour of intense cardio, either. Any movement is good movement, so get moving!
Go for that walk I talked about earlier. Incorporate one day of yoga practice into your week. UseHIIT workouts when you’re short on time. Pick up a pair of dumbbells and get squatting.
A regular exercise routine helps balance your hormones, stress levels, and in general keeps you healthier.The benefits can’t be overstated, so prioritize this in your week.
Okay, most of this list is things you should be doing during your life every day anyway. But let’s be honest, a lot of us aren’t doing them, and that includes havinggood sleep habits.
Sleep is when your body and mind repair themselves. It helps control your weight, improves concentration, reduces your risk of certain diseases, improves your immune system… you get the idea.
Again, the notion of getting better sleep doesn’t have to be daunting. A few small tweaks can help improve the quality.
When you improve your sleep, you’ll be amazed at how it trickles into every other aspect of your life. Think less dependence on coffee, a more focused brain, and more energy.
This one can be scary for some of us, but it’s so important for your mental health, especially during the holidays. We hope that everyone has relatives they love and enjoy spending time with. But for a lot of people, the holidays mean socializing with folks you may not actually get along with very well.
It’s important to learn how to set boundaries. Boundaries can take many forms, but essentially, they are lines in the sand beyond which you don’t want someone to walk.
For example, perhaps you don’t get along with your partner’s parents. Talk with your partner before you meet with their parents, even virtually, to set boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate.
Maybe it’s no political talk at the table or perhaps they have a habit of questioning your career choices. Ask for your partner’s help in backing you up in reinforcing these boundaries.
A polite but firm, “Excuse me, but I would prefer not to discuss <insert subject here>. I appreciate your understanding.” can go a long way.
If they insist on pursuing the subject, a second polite but firm reminder of the boundary can work. If not, be prepared to remove yourself from the situation with a firm, “I’ve asked you not to discuss <insert subject> with me and you continue doing so. I’m going to take a walk/leave now/go into another room until you respect my request.”
It can be scary to assert yourself in this way, but learning how to set and hold boundaries makes you an incredibly strong individual. It also sets the precedent for any younger folks at the table that it’s okay to respectfully stand up for yourself, which is a powerful message.
The holidays can bring out a lot of different moods and feelings. It’s important to be gentle with yourself and acknowledge them. Snag afeelings wheel to help you analyze what’s going on if you need to.
Acknowledge the feeling, sink into it, process it, and remember to be gentle with yourself for feeling it. The holidays are stressful; you’re allowed to have a wide range of emotions about them. Once you’ve dealt with it, don’t linger on it.
In particular, it’s important to listen for the “shoulds.” You know, the “Ishould bake cookies for my daughter’s soccer team like Debbie does” or “Ishould be happier, like my mom is” or “Ishould get all my Christmas shopping done early.”
Spoiler alert: you don’t have to should yourself about any of that.
It doesn’t matter if Debbie never forgets to bake the best cookies or your mom is the Queen of Christmas or you procrastinate on your shopping.
Be careful of getting in the Should Trap with the things on this list, too. Yes, they will help you keep your sanity during these months. But if you approach them like work, you’ll be less likely to do them.
So when you go through that drive-thru or sleep through your workout or don’t sleep at all or let your dad walk all over you at dinner, stop and take a deep breath. Remember that you’re human, that you’re trying your best, and that that is good enough. Because it is.
The holidays don’t stand a chance. You got this.
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