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5 Tips to Get You Through the Holidays

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Talk to 100 different women, and you will get 100 different “why the holidays stress me out” stories. Even those among us who love Christmas more than any other time of year can’t escape from a few difficult people and unexpected situations that alter our plans and impact our well being.

Crazy relatives, hyped-up kids, loneliness, financial strain, family discord, demanding work schedules … these are just a few holiday Grinches that steal our joy and, more importantly, our peace, as we strive to prepare the best Christmas for our friends and families.

Many of these are simply out of our control. But there is one thing that is always in our control – ourselves. And the absolute best thing we can do for the people we love – and our sanity – during the holidays is take care of us.

Here are a few tips to help you stay stable during the holidays…and any stressful season in life:

1. Care for and pamper you first. Honestly mom-of-four-who-never-gets-enough-sleep, do whatever it takes to find quiet time … even if it’s 30 minutes in a closet with your iTunes and headphones. Sit down for your meals instead of standing at the kitchen counter. Make yourself decompress (hit the couch with a magazine or glass of wine) after the kids go to bed – even if you have a million pairs of socks to fold before crashing. Exercise whenever you can, eat as healthy as possible. Get a pedicure … somehow, someway just take care of you.

2. Say no. What this really means is, be selective with your yes’s. You cannot possibly meet every person’s requests and demands for your time, creativity and labor during the holidays. You can’t go to every party, buy a gift for everyone you know, check off every item on your kids’ Santa lists, and donate to every worthy cause at every retail checkout counter. Saying no is about setting boundaries, and boundaries are good self-care in all areas of your life – especially in seasons that take more out of you than normal.

3. Ask for help. I’ll repeat: Ask. For. Help. It needs to be said over and over because women think they can do it all … because most of the time we can do it all. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. If you’re having a party, or a lot of family over for Christmas dinner, have everyone bring food and drinks. In fact, if Uncle Joe loves grilling a turkey – let him! You don’t have to do the main course just because you’re the host. Ask your spouse or friends to watch your kids – even one hour can be a huge help. Ask your boss for a few extra-long lunch hours so you can shop alone (or hide in the conference room with your iTunes and headphones). Ask – and don’t feel guilty. Life is about sharing burdens and challenges, not trying to be Super Woman. She doesn’t exist.

Ask. For. Help. It needs to be said over and over because women think they can do it all

4. Keep your alcohol intake at a minimum. Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that a glass of wine often sounds like the answer to holiday stress. And occasionally, it is! But going beyond a drink or two is going to alter your emotions considerably. In a season of already heightened emotions, it’s just not a good idea.

5. Share the hard parts with a friend or counselor. That’s what girlfriends are for – and chances are, they’re experiencing the same types of stress and sadness and frustrations that you are. If your problems are more serious, get help from a pastor or a trained and vetted counselor. Talking through difficult family and emotional issues connected to the holidays is good self-care during the holidays, and always.

You’ll also like Instagram Envy During the Holidays: Beware of the Pitfall, The Holidays and My Martha Heart, and Girl It’s Perfectly OK to be Yourself This Holiday Season.
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Clare: obsessive watcher of shore birds who loves spending hours shopping online for things she’ll never buy

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