Jingle all the Way!
Can you hear it? “Last Christmas” plays in the background as you contemplate what booze of choice to bring to the next family party. “How do I get through this every year?", you think to yourself and walk out the door, 2 bottles of red wine in hand, as Wham’s singing starts to fade, the stress and anxiety start to seep in.
We’ve all been in that scenario and sometimes it feels inevitable to escape. The holidays are such a joyful time but can also be complete mental health killers to some. To combat the stress of buying gifts, seeing everyone you love, working, and talking to uncle Jimmy about politics for the 76th weekend in a row, we’ve provided some tips to help you out!
Take Time for YOURSELF
We associate the holiday season as a time for giving. Not only gifts, but our time endlessly to others. The biggest way to not dig yourself into a hole of feeling drained is to take time for yourself. That might be waking up 10 minutes earlier to meditate (not on your phone) or focus on breathing to start your day in a calm state. Maybe sign up for a new exciting fitness class for yourself or with a friend, or dedicate one night a week to yourself if you’re finding yourself swamped with plans. Time for yourself is important not just during the holidays but any time of the year. Getting into good habits before the stress starts to really dig in is essential and can even lead you into the new year as a more productive and confident version of yourself! Check out our article on Self Care.
We have grown to be very materialist beings as technology has reached its hands into every aspect of our everyday lives. Gifts are one of the more stressful things to account for because people are becoming so hard to shop for. Kids want iPads and phones, and adults, the same! Not everyone can afford that so just being realistic with your budgeting will alleviate that feeling of trying to out gift everyone. Don’t underestimate the power of small, personalized gifts or home-made ones! Pinterest and Joann Fabrics are there for a reason. You might think that a homemade gift might feel lousy and make you look as if you’re on a budget but don’t sweat it. Christmas is a one day event and your finances are an everyday stressor, so keep that in mind as you ball out on gifts this year.
Also, make a list! Plan out your gifts! Don’t just go Christmas shopping with absolutely nothing in mind. That is definitely how you will overspend and might regret that later. Even budget within your friend groups and put caps on gifts! It's a great way to stay realistic and your friends will thank you for it too. Your relationship with your family and friends is what matters most, not how expensive or awesome your gift was.
Engage and Let Go
For some, the stress comes from the endless conversations at all the gatherings. It can be from when others ask about what you’ve got going on currently, politics, family drama, and more. To escape the pressure on you or your opinions within conversations, the best route is to ask about others and refrain from details if you’re not keen on sharing a ton. If you’re between jobs, struggling with school, or anything else, no one has to know! Faking it till you make it is overdone but key here. For example, someone asks about you college classes, and you know they are stressing you out? Explain that your classes are “super interesting” and are definitely keeping you busy! Don’t agree on politics? Just listen to the others then. Gaining perspective on the other opposing viewpoint makes you a better listener and conversationalist when it comes to these topics. To allow yourself to understand both sides usually gives you the upper hand. Between jobs? That just means you are working on finding a job that better suits you and makes you happy to be there. Even if you don’t necessarily believe these comments, talking in a more positive manner is better for your overall mental health (keeps you from negatively thinking about your current struggles), it also allows you to not get hung up on any topics, and avoids the family trying to “fix” you or your opinions at the party.
All the Foods
If the above topics weren’t strenuous enough to get through, now we have to take into account all the delicious food we’re surrounded by constantly. So, how to eat during this time? Make a plan and actually think ahead! If you find your office or workspace is constantly bringing in sweets, bring in your own snacks and meals to eat! You can obviously indulge at times but allow yourself to have a limit. Just try one item a week while keeping with your own food and goals. At the end of the day, it's just food and not necessary to always try Jenny’s new keto no sugar cookie brownie recipe.
Another quick and easy concept to prioritize if you find yourself having to eat at a party or potluck sort of situation is focus on filling your plate with protein and veggies! Not promoting keto or any low/no carb concepts here but protein and veggies alone allows you to generally eat a lower calorie plate. You can totally pick up a bread roll, potatoes, or any other carb but in moderation! Those are the things that we tend to over indulge on, where veggies are generally lower calorie, therefore, we can eat quite a bit without ruining our goals. The big idea to prioritize here is moderation as usual, but also not letting your eyes be bigger than your stomach! If you find yourself overeating at these events, eat a snack before! Don’t go in super hungry. This will let you to prioritize moderation when making your plate rather than monster in your stomach!
In short. . .
Trying to focus on yourself a bit more this holiday season and not overspending or overexerting yourself will keep you afloat! Using the tips above and getting realistic with your time, money, food, and confidence is key to keeping your sanity high and those bottles of stress-relieving wine on the low!