THIS IS THE 2nd POST IN A NEW SERIES, “KEEPING THE JOY IN YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON”
The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, but for many women in midlife, they can also be a time of stress and anxiety. Between the parties, the shopping, the family gatherings, the unrealistic expectations, and the endless to-do lists, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this busy time of year.
If you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed about the upcoming holiday season and the holiday stress that tags along, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the unique challenges that come with surviving the holidays, and then we’ll provide five essential tips for managing stress, including self care during the holidays.
- The Holidays are Uniquely Stressful
- Self Care During the Holidays: 5 Tips to Remember
- Self-Care Activities to Embrace
The Holidays are Uniquely Stressful
The holidays are a wonderful time, but also a period when family, financial, and work-related stressors come to the forefront. For women in midlife, this can be a particularly challenging time.
Family dynamics may be strained due to unresolved conflict or the loss of a loved one. Finances may be tight, as expenses related to travel, gifts, and entertainment can add up quickly.
If you are still working, those demands may increase as the end of the year approaches.
Are you caring for an elderly parent, or a spouse who is ill, or providing ongoing care and oversight for your grandchildren? That in itself is stressful, even when provided with love.
Now, do all of the above and prepare your home for the holidays, get the shopping done, cook the turkey, wrap the presents, and keep that smile on your face, girlfriend…things can snowball out of control very quickly.
So what can we do to tame this holiday beast? For me it’s a love/hate relationship sometimes.
Although my holidays are much quieter than in the past, there is still the struggle to “do for all” and still take care of myself.
Here are a few practical holiday self-care tips that will help!
Self Care During the Holidays: 5 Tips to Remember
1 | You can’t control everything around you, but you can control your own actions
As we all know, the holidays can be a very hectic time. There are parties to attend, gifts to buy, and family members to please. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the frenzy and forget what’s truly important.
That’s why it’s important to remember that you can’t control everything around you, but you can control your own actions.
You can choose to focus on the positive and enjoy spending time with your loved ones.
You can choose to be patient with your extended family, even when they drive you crazy.
And you can choose to show compassion to those who are less fortunate. When you take responsibility for your own actions, it’s amazing how much stress you can avoid during the holidays. So this year, remember that you are in control of your own happiness – no one else can do it for you.
2 | Understand your feelings and accept them
As the holiday season approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, baking, and party planning. However, it’s important to take a step back and attune yourself to your feelings.
Are you feeling stressed? Anxious? Sad? It’s important to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. Once you’ve identified your emotions, you can start to accept them.
This doesn’t mean that you have to like how you’re feeling, but it’s important to acknowledge your emotions. Once you’ve done that, you can start to take steps to manage your emotions in a healthy way.
For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking some time for yourself each day to relax and de-stress.
If you’re feeling sad, reach out to a friend or family member.
By attuning yourself to your feelings and accepting them honestly, you can help make the holiday season a little bit easier.
3 | Boundaries are Okay
“Boundaries are okay, and in fact are necessary for your health.” This is a statement that is particularly relevant during the hectic holiday season.
When we are constantly juggling multiple demands on our time and energy, it is important to set boundaries to protect our own well-being.
This means saying “no” to requests that we cannot realistically accommodate and being willing to delegate tasks to others. It also means making time for ourselves, even if it means saying “no” to some social invitations.
Although it can be difficult to set boundaries, doing so is essential for maintaining our health during a busy time of year. By being mindful of our own needs, we can avoid becoming overwhelmed and stressed out.
So if you start to feel like you’re being pulled in too many directions this holiday season, remember that it’s perfectly okay – and necessary – to set some boundaries.
4 | Don’t Skip the Healthy Routines
As the holiday season approaches, it’s easy to let healthy living routines fall by the wayside. Between parties, family gatherings, and shopping for gifts, it can be tough to find time for exercise and healthy eating.
However, it’s important to remember that healthy living routines are essential, even during the hectic holiday season.
Skipping workouts and eating unhealthy foods can lead to fatigue, weight gain, and a general feeling of “blah-ness.”
5 | Give yourself permission to be imperfect
We all know the drill. The holidays come around and we compile a list of to-dos that would make Martha Stewart proud. Then we beat ourselves up when we inevitably don’t meet our own expectations.
This year, let’s cut ourselves some slack, shall we? Starting now, give yourself permission to be imperfect.
Maybe the Christmas cookies will be a little burnt around the edges. Perhaps the Christmas tree won’t be as perfectly symmetrical as you’d like. And it’s quite possible that not everyone on your nice list will get a gift from you this year.
And you know what? That’s okay!
This season, do your best and then let it go. breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the peace that comes from releasing the need to be perfect. After all, ’tis the season of joy, not perfection.
Your emotional health and physical health will reflect that mindset in a positive way.
Self-Care Activities to Embrace
The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, but it’s especially important to take care of yourself during this time of year.
Here are some simple tips to help you fit holiday self-care into your busy schedule:
1. Make time for yourself each day, even if it’s just a few minutes to sit quietly. Maybe you can wake up a little earlier to enjoy some peace and quiet, or take a relaxing bath before bed.
2. Do something that makes you happy every day, whether it’s reading your favorite book, going for a walk, or listening to your favorite music.
4. Be mindful of your thoughts and try to focus on the positive things in your life. This can be difficult during stressful times, but it’s important to remember that the holidays are also a time for joy and happiness.
5. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who will support and encourage you.
Self-care is important all year round, but it’s especially crucial during the holidays. Just remember that you can’t control everything around you, but you can control how you react.
So take a deep breath, understand your feelings and accept them. It’s also ok to set boundaries this holiday season. Be sure to maintain your healthy routines too, and give yourself permission to be imperfect.
By taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to better enjoy this special time of year, come from a place of gratitude and thankfulness, and create lasting memories with your loved ones.
What will you do differently this year? I hope these tips will help make the holidays a little less stressful for you.
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