The holiday season tends to be a joyous, magical time. But, for many, it is stressful and filled with emotion. You may even dread the holidays. I want to start by saying – you are not alone in this! It’s easy to look at pictures of beautiful trees and watch Hallmark Christmas Movies where it all comes together in the end. But, those are not the whole story. Heck, the movies aren’t realistic. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch them. But they aren’t real life. Maybe that’s why they’re fun to watch? But anyway, if you find yourself struggling this time of year, here are my tips for the holidays to protect your mental health!
Tips for the holidays:
- Have a plan before an event – How long do you want to stay? What will you say if Aunt Sally asks those invasive questions? This way you are prepared instead of answering on the spot and overthinking about it for the rest of the time.
- Set boundaries – this might look like leaving places early or skipping events altogether to avoid that relative that gets under your skin. It might also be saying that you don’t want to talk about something. I know this seems like it would be awkward, but you don’t need to feel uncomfortable!
- Drive yourself to events– make sure that when you’re ready to go, you can go. If you and your partner aren’t on the same page about leaving, drive separately and meet them back home, later. (This is something to consider when making your plan!)
- Allow yourself to feel – don’t pressure yourself to put on a happy face simply because it’s the holiday season. The holidays still won’t be fun if you pent up your emotions. I’m not saying to stomp around your family’s party or cry your way through dinner, but when you have downtime and don’t want to get dressed – allow yourself to stay in your pj’s and feel all the feels with a cup of hot chocolate.
- Do something that makes you feel good – dress up, put on a full face of makeup, curl your hair, play music while getting ready, watch a movie that makes you laugh. Whatever it is, make time for it this season!
- Schedule downtime – we get so busy during the holidays that we forget we need to rest and recharge. I hear from a lot of people that social events are more tiring now after not having them during the pandemic. Make sure you give yourself time for this. Especially after a stressful or chaotic event.
Unfortunately, this time of year is full of toxic positivity and people who can’t keep their love for Christmas to themselves. I’m not saying we should be like the Grinch, but there is a happy medium. And that happy medium is whatever you need to do to make it through. Keep in mind – there is so much to enjoy about this season. You deserve to enjoy it. Do not feel guilty for doing what you need to do for yourself and your family. It’s easier to enjoy when you can do it on your own terms.
[If you start to feel behind when visiting with people and hearing all about their lives, read this post, too!]
I truly hope these tips for the holidays are helpful and you enjoy this magical season!
Oh, and I’ve gotta know. What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Tell me in the comments.