Author: Zlatna Nedeva
Nothing says the holidays like maddening crowds at the stores, awkward questions from close and distant relatives, or looming end-of-year work deadlines. On the other hand, the idea of going home for the holidays will elicit either genuine cheer, slow-growing dread, or any of the myriad emotions in between. Along with the beautiful glow of twinkly lights and the wave of parties filling your calendar, it may be the merriest of seasons, but, at the same time, it can bring your stress level into overdrive.
The good news is that there are still ways to deal with the stress, allowing you to take care of your mental health this holiday season. Here are my 5 ways to get through the most wonderful, but stressful, time of the year.
Skip as many holiday festivities and traditions as you wish
Sometimes saying "no" doesn't mean you're ruining the Christmas spirit or missing the holidays. Whether it’s attending a family get-together or the pressure of following certain traditions, that you don’t necessarily enjoy, the holidays can prompt a lot of pressure. Very often, caused by the high expectations or exhaustion at the end of the year, we simply do not have the emotional capacity for everything we are expected to do in the name of Santa. Don't punish yourself, just try to choose the things that are actually important to you.
Don't feel bad if you don’t feel the Christmas fever
It’s ok to not feel that excited about the holidays. All the preparation and expectations may seem a little overwhelming, but remember that mental health care is not selfish. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be your biggest ally and your biggest advocate.
Find an emotional safety net
Find the things you like about Chrstmas and embrace them. For me it’s walks in the crisp cold weather and the beautiful Christmas lights that are everywhere. Another tip is to create a list of self-care rituals that make you feel good, such as lighting a few scented candles and watching a movie, or making a playlist of songs to listen to when you are feeling anxious.
Stick To Your Routine
Of course, the holidays will not be like your normal routine, but try to stick to your routine as much as possible, even with all social events around the holidays. The more you stick to your routine, even if it’s just for one part of your day, the more you will feel that your emotional health is under control.
Work smarter, not harder
Wheather you are working over the holidays or getting a well-deserved time off, don’t force yourself to do it all before the end of the year. Remember to take your time, as you would normally do. In order to manage your mental health while working, save the monotonus tasks for the down days and the more creative or complex for good mental health days. It’s a good strategy to keep up at work without overloading yourself mentally.
And one extra tip from me - don’t get tricked by all the “I’ve acomplished everything I wanted” posts you will see on social media at this time of the year. We all know that social media can be deceiving. You are moving at your own pace so you should always take time and be proud of your own accomplishments no matter how small or big they might seem to somebody else.