It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most chaotic! While the holidays can be a holly jolly time for parties, family time, good food and lots of events, it can really feel like the complete opposite at times.
This time of year can be stressful as the holidays can be demanding for both your time and energy. And money! While you may feel obligated to say yes to everything, it can make you a little crazy and miserable by the end of the year.
Between traveling, end of year work deadlines, holiday shopping and spending, it’s no wonder we are all feeling overwhelmed, a little crazy and stressed this time of year. And let’s also add on the family drama and dynamics that can add another layer of stress and anxiety to this time of year.
You aren’t alone! We all feel some or all of this around the holidays and there are some tips I’d love to share to help you with feeling overwhelmed and instead feeling saner during the holidays.
How To Stay Sane During The Holidays
Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin
Easier said than done, but by being aware of how much you have on your plate, you’ll be able to gauge any additional commitments. Stay organized in what your obligations are with a calendar.
With family, with friends, with yourself. It’s okay to say “I can’t commit to this right now”, or setting the boundary to not discuss XYZ topic with family.
Take Breaks From Group Activities
As someone who feels this wholeheartedly, it’s okay to take breaks from group activities. As an introvert, they are super draining for me and it takes time to regroup and get my energy back after a big event. If you know you can only deal with one or two group activities a week to feel your best, stick to that limit!
Prioritize the ones that are most important and politely decline the others. I’m proud of my millennial generation for being forward with this one and being able to say “I am unable to attend” and not having to give an excuse. You don’t owe anyone an excuse.
Limit Your Alcohol
Alcohol can lead to extra anxiety no matter what time of year it is. By limiting your alcohol you’ll feel better, more energized and happier during this high-anxiety season. It’ll also allow you to get better sleep which is key to getting through the crazy holiday months.
Stick To Your Routine
For me, that’s sticking to the gym and sleep schedule. Yours may be always reading every night before bed. Whatever those things are in your routine that you really cling to and love, keep them going. They will help you feel saner and on top of life during this crazy time.
Get Your Workouts In
Working out, or even getting a good 30 minute walk in each day, is good for your mental health, overall wellness and mood. It boosts your creativity too. You’ll feel better that you got your body moving whether it’s for a quick walk around the block or your usual spin class. Just try to get it in!
Maintain A Balanced Diet
Eating well when you’re surrounded by treats, sweets and macaroni and cheese isn’t always easy. But it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just try to stick to your usual balanced diet and then enjoy the fun things in moderation.
It’s not about starvation so you can enjoy the desserts. Or about limiting sweets 100% so you feel deprived. It’s about balance. You’ll feel better this way, promise!
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
I give you 100% permission to say no when you feel like you need to. I really hope after 2020 and the pandemic that we have learned to be more understanding of someone having to say no and not needing an explanation. Something I think we should all be more accepting of.
Get Good Rest And Sleep
I need my 8 hours, period. And I don’t let the holidays take that away from me either. Good sleep will allow you to feel your best around friends and family and also keep your immune system at its best.
Everything In Moderation
From spending to eating and drinking, everything in moderation is key! Restricting yourself can be just as bad as overindulging when it comes to stress and anxiety. Allow yourself some grace this time of year and shifting your focus from all or nothing to, everything in moderation, will be a huge relief.
It’s scientifically proven that helping someone else can boost your mood. Donate to a local charity, bring a hot meal to a friend who’s swamped, or volunteer at a local dog shelter.
Budget All Year For Holiday Spending
Might be a little late for this one, but you can plan for next year! If you can set aside $50 a month for the holidays, you’ll feel a hell of a lot better spending that extra money in November and December. We tend to forget that we spend more money this time of year and that usually means we forget to budget for it.
Then these expensive few months hit and it feels like we’re draining our bank accounts. Prepare early by getting into a habit of putting away a set amount of money each month to be well prepared for these expensive few weeks.
If you know you always spend a certain amount each holiday, take that amount and divide it by 12 and set that amount aside at the first of each month.
Stay Organized With A Calendar
Sure a calendar is key to staying organized with events and commitments, but I go a step further with mine. If I know I am going to Friendsgiving on Sunday, I want to head to the store on Tuesday, to then cook on Thursday when I know I have the time.
Put that IN YOUR CALENDAR. It’ll allow you to stay on top of everything and feel like you have a good grasp on your time and schedule. This also allows you to feel like you have a sense of control over quite a bit which overall can help your anxiety levels.
Remember What Really Matters During The Holidays
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stress, try to remember what really matters during the holidays. It’s about family in the end, right?
Remind yourself of the things you are fortunate for to bring you back to reality when you’re stressing over a pie recipe or getting the perfect gift. It’s really all about being with one another and not about what’s under the Christmas tree.
You Don’t Have To Host Everyone
Create boundaries with house guests if you need to. If it’s too much, offer some great Airbnb options to guests if you think it’ll allow you to maintain your sanity. Prepare this in advance so you aren’t scrambling last minute. Be clear on your boundaries and stick to them.
Do A Little Self Care
Take that time you need for self care. whether it’s an at home facial, or getting a manicure, do it! Self care is important all year round, especially during the peak stress holiday season!
Create Lists For Everything
Flying by the seat of your pants for presents, or hosting will cause you to feel out of control. Make lists for everything and keep them in a place that’s most effective for your productivity.
From lists to clean your house, to gifting lists to what you need to make or buy for a big dinner. Have a detailed list and even add in timelines if you need to.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
It’s okay to ask for some help if you need it. Whether it’s getting a babysitter so you can run your errands child-free so you can maximize your time, or getting some help with cleaning your house so it’s one less thing on your list, do it.
Now’s the time to tap into those helpers. Same goes for asking guests to bring dishes to your dinner party. You don’t have to cook the ENTIRE meal and getting help from guests is key.
Lower Your Expectations
We have a tendency to set really high expectations for the holidays. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s all the rom-com holiday movies and Hallmark holiday shows that have us thinking this time of year is supposed to be beyond magical. But lower your expectations because your life isn’t a Hallmark movie.
Know that things may go wrong, parties may not be perfect, but you can always do your best and be in the moment and remember what’s really important this time of year.
Delete Your Social Media
Scrolling Instagram is already mentally draining and can cause depression. And this time of year is only harder. We start doing the comparison game. Why am I not having THAT kind of holiday? Why wasn’t I invited to THAT party?
It’s hard to see other people’s highlight reel even though we all know there’s a real-life happening with real problems behind it all. But it’s rarely shown. Delete your social media for the holidays and take a digital detox.