The holiday season can bring with it many mixed emotions, even if you don’t celebrate the holidays. Our schedules get wonky because of school breaks, scheduled closures, and plans for vacations that rarely leave us feeling as though we’ve taken time off. We may be overstimulated by nearly nonstop Christmas music, Hallmark movies, crowded stores, heavier traffic (especially if you’re west of Phoenix where we get a lot of “snowbirds”). We may also feel the financial pressure of buying more food and “stuff” than we might ordinarily be purchasing; not to mention gas prices skyrocket whenever there is a “travel holiday” and never seem to get quite back down to where they started.
Whether this is your favorite time of year or the most stressful, here are some suggestions on how to get through it with (most of) your sanity intact:
- Try not to stray too from your typical routine. It only takes a couple of days for our sleep cycles to get off track and when we aren’t well rested, we’re more vulnerable to getting emotionally dysregulated.
- Balance “have to”, “want to”, and novelty to help prevent burnout. Remember that we never outgrow our need to play and have fun. Laughter helps our bodies release physical tension and can give us an emotional reset.
- Set a budget and stick to it. What we can do or buy for someone is not an accurate reflection of our care for them. Notice and try not to judge the urge to shop, shop, shop, and see if you’re able to get curious about what drives it so that you’re more equipped to re-think how you think about it.
- Be intentional about who you spend time with, how much time you’ll spend, and what to do with that time.
- Ditch the “new year, new me” nonsense. If you set resolutions, be realistic. Focus on the steps you are taking toward your goals instead of the times and days that you don’t seem to be making as much progress as you’d like.
- Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals.
- BOUNDARIES! BOUNDARIES! BOUNDARIES!
- Honor traditions that continue to hold (positive) meaning to you and make room for new ones.
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