For those that celebrate, the winter holidays are many things. Wonderful. Loving. Exciting. And often stressful. There’s a reason that mental health can plummet around this time of year. The expectations are high (and so is the price tag attached to “good cheer”). We’ve rounded up a few tips to keep things merry and bright.
Take Time For Yourself
It’s simply a fact that you have a limited number of minutes and hours in the day. Commit to taking a few of them for yourself every day throughout the holiday season. Whether that’s to get in a walk with the dog as exercise, meditate or even sit down with your personal financial goals, there are many benefits to be had.
If you need to enter this item in on a to-do list, do it. If you want a physical reminder, set an alarm. Just don’t let the days slip by without taking time for yourself in the coming months.
Ignore Social Pressures
Sometimes it can be fun to get caught up in the celebrations, but don’t let traditions rule your life if they’re no making you happy. If you have a rocky relationship with your family, it’s okay to spend the holidays apart. For people with chronic illnesses, they may be too exhausted to hit every party. Trying to save up to pay down debt or for a big expense? It’s okay to say no to presents this year.
Come up with a few ways to express yourself so that you’re ready when people make demands on your time or your pocketbook.
Keep Up The Good Habits
It’s easy to think of this time around the new year as motivational. Instead of making your list of resolutions to start in on next month, try to keep the good habits you already have. That could be getting enough sleep at night, or eating at least two servings of veggies at every meal.
Sometimes it’s maintaining healthy steps that can be the hardest. Look at the holiday season as a great place to figure out how to keep good habits in place around an ever-changing landscape of friends, family and fun.
Get Ahead Of Stress
Forewarned is forearmed, right? Get ahead of stress by identifying areas or times in your life this holiday that are specifically going to be difficult. Once you know what those are, try to plan for ways to ease the tension. Maybe you come up with a plan to avoid spending too long at Aunt Marge’s on Christmas Eve. Perhaps you plan to be designated driver for New Year’s. Even if it’s as simple as outlining the next few weeks and planning out some healthy meals (whatever healthy means to you), these steps can be helpful.
Take Social Media Breaks
Whether you’re a news junkie or just always ‘on,’ taking a break from internet scrolling can be a serious benefit. Not only are there some pretty negative side effects of too much screen time, it’s time that could be spent in more relaxing ways. The holidays are stressful enough without the ads and outside pressure.
Remember that the holiday season is what you make it — just like your health. It’s both highly personal and important. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a healthy and happy time.
Get Ahead of Spending
You’re probably going to want to participate in holiday activities of some sort, so start getting together a list of cheap or free options. New Years bar hopping price tags can sneak up on you!
Avoid Family Conflict
Every family has the grump who wants to pick fights at the dinner table. First of all, don’t be that grump. And second, don’t indulge that grump. They might get a kick out of it, but everyone else just gets a spike in their blood pressure.
Watch the Alcohol
This time of year is famous for many alcohol-related problems. From family fights to DUIs on New Years, no one wants to start the new year on the wrong note. Plus, alcohol can make mental health issues worse, and it tanks your sleep quality (even if you sleep for longer).
Watch the Sugar
We’re all going to be partaking in some holiday treats, from hot cocoa to cookies and more. However, a bad diet for days on end can easily lead to a bad mood. Try to aim for a bit of balance. We’re not saying to count calories, just listen to your body before you reach for the third slice of pie.
Take the Opportunity to Connect
The holidays are a good time to reach out to old friends, extended family and others. Take some time to reach out and strengthen those relationships.