Staying grounded during the holidays isn’t always easy.
However, making the effort is one of the best gifts you can offer yourself during this stressful time of year.
After all, there are a lot of things pulling you into a potential negative space. It’s a very busy time of year, with people rushing everywhere and many “to dos” on the calendar. Some of those might be things you’re not looking forward to or at least have mixed feelings about.
Add to that the changes in diet due to all of those holiday meals, the shorter dark days of winter, and the emotions triggered by past experiences of the holidays, and you end up with a situation ripe for stress.
However, you don’t have to be thrown about by the whims of the holiday season. If you incorporate methods of staying grounded into each day, you will be able to navigate all of the stress of the holidays with relative ease.
Here are five tips to keep handy:
1. Start with Self-Care
Everyone seems to be talking about self-care these days. In fact, it can feel like just one more thing to put on your “to do” list. In other words, you can feel pressure to “do self-care” since you’re seeing messages about it everywhere. That in itself can be stressful.
Therefore, it’s important to examine your relationship with the concept of self-care. Moreover, it’s important to figure out the right way to embrace self-care. It should feel like a treat rather than an obligation or something that you worry you’re not doing “well enough.”
Self-care refers to making sure that you’re doing the basics for yourself. Everyone deserves to have good, healthy meals and a safe, cozy place to sleep.
For implementing those types of self-care things, it can help you to think of how you would treat a young child. Then, be sure that you’re doing those same things for yourself. Think of this as a gift you’re giving to yourself and make it a point to enjoy that gift each and every day.
Beyond the basics, though, self-care also encompasses anything that you do to take care of your own health, including your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Brainstorm a list of self-care practices that you truly enjoy. For example, many people think of going to the gym as self-care. But, if you hate the gym, it doesn’t feel good to you, and it won’t help you with staying grounded during the holidays. In contrast, if you love to snuggle under the covers with a good book, then work that into your holiday schedule several times per week.
2. Practice Gratitude
Money is one of the things that really stress people out during the holidays. People tend to spend more at this time of year on gifts for others, clothing for fancy parties, travel to see family members, etc.
This can create a scarcity mindset, where it feels like you don’t have enough money, and then you start feeling as though you don’t have enough of anything that you need.
Avoid this negative spiral by embracing gratitude. It won’t solve your budget woes (you should work on that separately to mitigate the money stress), but it will help relieve that feeling of lack that can pervade the holidays.
When you focus on what you appreciate, you don’t think so much about what you wish you had instead. This works for emotional issues as well as tangible ones. For example, instead of wishing you had a family that didn’t argue during the holidays, practice gratitude for what you do love about your own unique family.
The best way of staying grounded in gratitude is to make it a daily practice. Make a list every morning of what you’re excited about for the day. Then make a list every evening of the things you’re truly grateful for from the day’s events. Try to focus on specific details and really celebrate these things that you have reason to appreciate.
3. Spend Time, Not Money
Speaking of financial stress, one easy way to mitigate it is to focus on spending time with people you love, instead of spending money on gifts for them. Whether or not you have financial stress, meaningful quality time with those that you love is key to staying grounded during the holiday season.
Make a list of everyone you love who lives nearby, then put something on the calendar to enjoy with each of them.
Things you might do together include:
- Baking cookies or bread
- Getting together to wrap gifts
- Decorating a tree or home
- Spending a night in by the fireplace
- Going caroling, seeing Christmas lights, or attending a holiday event together
Whenever you’re scheduling a holiday task, ask yourself if there’s a loved one you would enjoy having along for the day.
4. Give to Others Less Fortunate
The holiday season is about giving to others, but it’s not just about giving gifts.
Find a cause that you care about, and then give your time to volunteering. This is one of the most fulfilling ways of staying grounded despite the hubbub of the holidays.
5. Engage in Mindfulness
No matter how you choose to spend the holidays, work on your mindfulness techniques. In other words, focus on staying present in the moment.
If you’re in the present, then you aren’t stressing about the past or worrying about the future. Instead, you’re staying grounded in the actual experience of the holidays.
Then, even when the holidays are tough, knowing that you’re okay in the present moment can go a long way towards making them better.
Of course, there are many reasons that the holidays may be stressful. And you might find it challenging to work on staying grounded on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact me or learn more about my approach to anxiety treatment here.