Surviving the Holidays

December 7, 2020

Every year many people celebrate the holidays with family, friends, and traditions.  While this time of year can be full of joy and happiness, it also can be incredibly stressful for a variety of reasons. 2020 has brought us many challenges, which will likely impact our plans. 


To help us manage this time of year and maintain our well-being, here are a few tips you may find helpful:


1. Keep your regular routine.

A change in routine can lead to additional stress. Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings that you normally go to, and stick to as normal a diet as you possibly can.


2. Think moderation.

While it may be easy to drink and eat too much at parties and special dinners, we should try not to overindulge with food and/or alcohol. Remember, eating and drinking may feel like they temporarily “ease the pain” of the holiday blues, but they can also lead to feelings of guilt.


3. Be realistic, and try not to expect the “ideal” holiday.

So many of us have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like and are very disappointed when they don’t live up to those expectations. Try to be realistic. Remember, nobody has a perfect holiday or perfect family.


4. Stay connected.

This is especially important this year while many of us will be limiting our gatherings, even skipping them entirely to maintain our safety. The number of guests should be limited to county guidelines, people who have Covid-19 or other illnesses should not attend, and we should continue to practice distancing and having events outside if possible. Zoom and other platforms are a good way to join others.  Make sure to coordinate times to ensure everyone can be connected.


5. Throw guilt out the window.

Try not to put unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy, to rejoice, or even to enjoy the holidays. It’s certainly reasonable to have some disappointment considering the restrictions we are living with. Likewise, try not to overanalyze your interactions with others. Give yourself a break this holiday season.


6. Don’t overspend/over do.

Many people engage in gift giving this time of you.  It’s important that you not spend more than you can afford, possibly building debt that will follow you for months.  Due to circumstance, many people are having financial challenges and adding to that is not in your best interest.  Remember, the greatest gift we can give is our time.  Make agreements with friends and family to limit, or even forego, gift giving things year.


7. Focus on today, not yesterday.

There’s something about being with family and old friends that makes us become who we were and not who we are. When you find yourself reverting to old childhood patterns with family members, try to walk away for a minute and remember who you are now. Also remember that it’s not necessary to play the same role as you did when you were younger, even if others are encouraging you to do so by their behaviors. If there is someone at the get-together who knows what you are like today, make sure to reach out to them and draw them into the interactions. That will help to ground you.


8. Just say no.

It’s OK to say no when you’re asked to do more than you can. It’s fine to say no to some invitations and fine to say no to those asking for favors. Remember, this is your holiday, too!


9. Ask for help.

Holidays are often a time people attempt to take on too much or do too much on their own. It’s OK to ask for help from family and friends. Whether for decorating, shopping, cooking, or a shoulder to lean on, ask.


10. Be good to YOU.

If you’re feeling blue, pamper yourself. Do what feels good, and what you want to do. Try to take a walk or spend time alone, if that’s what you want. Remember, this is your holiday, too, and you can be there for yourself just like you try to be for everyone else.


The holidays only come once a year and only last for a few weeks. If you follow these 10 tips, you might just find this year to be more joyful and less stressful


Have a peaceful and healthy holiday season!


-Writer, Michele Lei Caban 

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