The holidays are meant to be a time of celebrating, traditions, spending and enjoying time with family and friends, taking a break and relaxing, and indulging in the festivities and food. But holidays can also bring with them conflict, stress, anxiety, extra financial obligations, and even depression. During this time of year, there are less daylight hours, the weather is not as pleasant, and there are significantly more social, financial, and familial obligations and expectations. With a few tips, you can survive the holidays and actually enjoy them too!

Make self-care a priority. Taking care of yourself during stressful times, and even more so during the holidays, should be top priority. When you are tired or exhausted, run down, or stressed out, it is easier to become sick, irritable, or have difficulties maintaining and completing all of your responsibilities. Make sure you are sleeping enough, taking time for yourself, eating right, and doing whatever it is that helps you to recharge and be your best self.

Know your limits and boundaries. During the holidays there is a significant increase in social, work, and family functions. Saying yes to everything, being the last person at the party, or trying to host it all can be extremely taxing and even detrimental. You don’t have to say yes to every event or gathering you are invited to. Consider all the options and invitations, if there are any you are required to attend (required meaning there would be negative consequences if you did not go, not just that you feel obligated to be there), the costs of attending or traveling to them, which ones and who matter most to you, and which invitations you can say no to. By knowing what you can handle time-wise, mentally, and financially, you will be better able to navigate all the invitations and not suffer from holiday burnout.

Stay consistent. Make sure to keep up your routines and habits to help you stay “sane” during the holidays. If you regularly workout, go to yoga or Pilates, run or bike, journal or read daily, get manicures/pedicures/massages/haircuts, meditate, etc., don’t sacrifice those practices when times are busy and stressful. Continuing to do what is important to you will help to keep balance in your life and make sure you are keeping your priorities in order.

Set and stick to budgets. Holidays, parties, food, and gifts can really add up. Make sure you set a budget for each area and stick to it. If you are hosting a holiday, set a budget for what you will spend on food and décor. Decide how much you can reasonably spend on gifts and stick to it. Talk to your significant other or family and set an amount for how much you will spend on gifts for each other and family members. And do it early so you are able to put aside money and budget for all the extra expenses of the holidays.

Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. It is easy to fall into the mindset that everything has to be perfect for the holidays, especially when you are the host. Setting very high expectations for preparing, cleaning, cooking, decorating, gift giving, and others’ enjoyment can only lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment. They are your family and friends. Chances are they have seen your home or have had your cooking before, they will appreciate all you are doing or the gift you give, and they will still love or like you the same after the holidays are over. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself, the focus should be on spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.

If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed during the holidays, contact Symmetry Counseling today to schedule an appointment with a therapist who can provide tips and tools to help you navigate the holiday season.