The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone. With family, shopping, and travelling – it’s hard to feel cheerful when you’re being pulled in multiple directions. On top of it all, whatever you’re doing has to look effortless. Martha Stewart and the chefs of Food Network can pull together a 5-course, gourmet meal without so much as breaking a sweat, why can’t you?
What you should remember this holiday season is that even Beyonce photoshops her Instagram photos and, likewise, nobody expects you to be perfect. Take a little time for yourself this season and take note of these tips when you’re feeling stressed.
It’s understandable wanting to isolate yourself after dealing with crowds in shopping malls full of stressed-out consumers under similar holiday strain. Time alone is important to have occasionally, but it’s also just as important to connect with your friends and family.
Everybody tends to have those mandatory work and family events to attend during the months of November, December, and January and, well, they’re not always fun. But if you can make time to get together with the people who support you and “get” you, you’ll feel better and happier. And, you’ll be better equipped to deal with stress when you have people you can lean on in times of need.
Even if you can’t get to your family or friends physically, pick up the phone and call them. It’s always good to have a buddy you can rant to when things get tough. But, don’t forget to be there for your friends and family, too.[sc:shn-ad1]
FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is a real thing that people feel when they’re disconnected from social media. Maybe you’ve felt it: the incessant desire and compulsion to stay online in order to see what other people are doing. It’s a habit that allows you to constantly compare other people’s lives with your own. But being constantly connected to your social network can become negative very quickly. “How many times does that couple have to post an annoying couples selfie? Do they not know I’m going through a break-up? DAMN THEM!”
So, to avoid these psychological traps, try to limit your time online checking social media. Quit Facebook for a week, for two weeks, or – if you’re daring – for the entire holiday season. Unplug, realize that you don’t have to compete in the arbitrary status race social media can foster and relax. Trust me, you don’t HAVE to post that picture to Instagram RIGHT NOW. Hashtag blessed.
Sure, your curated version of your life may look good but try to make an experience about the experience and not… you know, the virtual version of the experience. Concerts are better looked at through your eyes and not an iPhone screen.[sc:shn-ad2]
This is the season of giving – but don’t forget to give back to yourself. Especially in times of stress, you need to take a second to treat yourself. Go to a spa for the day. Can’t afford or don’t have time for a spa day? DIY it. Draw a bath, get some essential oils, and light some candles.
Here are some other ideas:
- Do a craft from Pinterest
- Paint your nails
- Watch a movie
- Go for a walk
- Bake or cook
Anything that gets your mind off what’s stressing you and keeps you relaxed – even if it’s only for a little while.
Exercising is a great way to increase endorphins and release tension that you might have from dealing with the holiday season.
Stretch, do yoga, bike, run, go to the gym, life weights, or go for a walk. Even if you work at an office for eight hours a day, you can take 10 minutes to walk outside or around your building. Make an effort to not let exercise fall by the wayside when you’re stressed. It’s help keep you healthy and stable.
If you have a friend who also likes being active, get together and go on hikes or spot each other at the gym. Keeping each other accountable and having someone to stay fit with can do wonders for your motivation.[sc:shn-ad3]
Sleeping is critical for healthy functioning. We all know the feeling of a terrible night’s sleep the morning after and the accompanying grumpiness, lack of productivity, and general malaise.
Prioritize your activities to make sure you’re actually sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night. Days of not sleeping can interfere with your ability to stay healthy.
If you’re stressed out and not able to turn your mind off for the night, make a little bedtime ritual that will put you in a sleepy state of mind. Don’t use your phone in the hour leading up to bedtime, take a hot bath or shower, and read or doodle in a sketchbook – something that is relaxing. This doesn’t include television because the light and noise can be enough stimulation to keep you up.
Good luck! Remember, the holidays are temporary. They’ll be over before you know it.