Stress Free

Christmas is only a few days away! Once we all would respond to that with pure delight and glee. But in a pandemic year it’s more likely sheer panic and stress. Holiday shopping, finding perfect gifts, and having to tolerate family members you tried your best to avoid the rest of the year are not for the timid. And with new variants coming like the Grinch to steal our Christmas joy we’d better be prepared to armor our spirits. Here are 5 ways to cope with another unusual holiday season and fill your emotional well-being stocking.

1.Plan Ahead
Christmas decorations and dinner preparation can be tedious and financially demanding. Plan at least a month in advance for the amount of spending the season requires. Write down your potential expenditure, then begin budgeting. Do it. Right now. A budget creates boundaries for your pocket (or bank account). In the end, it helps reduce stress because it allows you to control how you spend your money. If money is tight this year, there is always next year to splurge. The holiday season isn’t just about material things.

2.Take time for Self-Care
We overemphasize that the holiday season should be a time where we spread love, happiness and good cheer. But we often down play the need to take good care of ourselves and our mental health.  Have a “Selfcare Sunday” where you can just listen to music, do yoga, go for a walk, take a warm bath or even meditate. Anything that makes you feel more relaxed this holiday season is good for your soul. 

3.Stay Present
Don’t get lost in the season’s excitement. Let’s remain thankful for our loved ones and our achievements this year. Surviving Covid 19 and the restrictions it brought is enough to pat ourselves on the back. Get a book and write down all your 2021 accomplishments whether big or small. Include the fears and concerns you had. Why journaling? It allows us to stay centered by forcing us to get crystal clear about what we want (goals). It also allows us to pinpoint mental triggers and helps us to better control them.

4.Set Boundaries
Set boundaries before you are knee-deep in the festivities. You can love the holidays as much as the next person, but it makes little sense to attend a billion office parties and all the family get togethers. And please don’t shop till you drop!

Be honest with yourself about how much you can handle. It’s okay to speak up and say no if it is just too much. You decide where you go and who you invite into your home. Don’t let your mother, your step father or your second cousin call the shots this year. You choose. So before committing to anything, decide what your limits are for hosting guests. Is it a weekend? Is it two weeks? 

5.Give Social Media a Break
Studies show that social media also plays a role in heightening stress levels in the holiday season. Those seemingly ‘perfect’ and ‘exquisitely organized’ Instagram posts of others can leave you feeling like a failure for not having the best decorations, the best Christmas dinner or even the best gift. Drown all that noise by using the off button. You did your best this year and that is all that should matter. 

Our takeaway
If we don’t listen and respond to holiday stress we can end up anxious and depressed. This year, make caring for yourself top priority!

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