I originally wanted to create an episode about surviving the holidays but I really want to work with you to stop “just getting by” and really dive into feeling your best and thriving this time of year.
But it’s hard! You have a long list of 100 things you need to finish before the big day and it’s hard to survive, let alone really enjoy the process.
And maybe you’re reading to this and you’re thinking – this isn’t an issue for me. Christmas IS MY SEASON. So shout out to all my super organized Christmas elves who are hyped on the holiday egg nog and thriving.
I love this time of year but I’m not organized. I just said to Glen, my husband, last night that we needed to both start and finish our shopping this weekend…I’m normally very organized but this year, with house hunting and building a new business, this podcast, my crazy puppy and following the new restriction changes every few minutes…my brain is on squirrel mode.
But let’s dive into the Holiday Hustle and how to prioritize your mental health, even in the craziest of seasons.
Let me just ask you, on a scale from 1-10 how is your current self-care routine? How are you currently dealing with the emotions of this year? How’s your physical health?
And on a scale from 1-10, how have you been showing up as the Christmas elf of your family?
Have you been putting more effort into the holiday hustle than yourself?
And I don’t ask you that to put you on the spot and stress you out, I ask you that to put into perspective where your focus is.
I totally get that this is “part of Christmas” but is it? Has 2020 & 2021 taught us nothing? Or maybe we’re trying to make up for a lost time?
There is SO much pressure happening right now around the holidays, and even without the stress of COVID, the holidays are hard on our mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) did a study in 2014 that reported approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.”
And I can only imagine that percentage being so much higher today due to the extra circumstances we’re living in…AKA a global frikken pandemic. You can be “so over COVID” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting our mental health.
And I actually think that the “I don’t care” mentality is a coping mechanism for all this craziness but that’s a podcast episode for anything day.
So if you are one of those people who are affected by the holiday hustle, here are some tips to put your mental health first.
Take a moment and journal about different situations and scenarios to help you find those triggers because if you don’t know them, you can’t avoid them or at least make a plan to tackle them.
2. Make time for yourself and plan your self-care pockets. If you have a long day of back-to-back family, find the pockets when you can recharge. If you are an introvert like me, you need that rest time, lock yourself in a room and throw your guilt away. You don’t owe anyone your 100% time and attention. I don’t care if you’re the glue of your family, you do it all and you can’t take a 15-minute break…PLAN your break ESPECIALLY if you’re the glue. You deserve it more than anyone.
3. Let’s talk food, diet culture and those restrictions you’ve already placed on yourself for the holidays.
Say this with me— there is no such thing as “bad foods”.
The best thing I ever did for my mental health created a better relationship with my nutrition and that started by getting rid of the labels of “good food” and “bad food” – it’s all just-food.
Easier said than done and this isn’t going to happen overnight. If you are struggling with nutrition and mindset before the holidays, I know adding this quick tip won’t change your perspective on food but it might remind you that you are worthy of enjoying the holidays without restriction.
This isn’t a free pass to throw your habits out the window for the holidays. A couple days, sure but don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and I truly believe, nutrition is a big piece of your mental health.
Throw food guild out the window but remember those triggers we talked about, if your nutrition and alcohol are triggers for you, plan accordingly.
4. Learn to say no.
Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
5. Take control of the holidays. This is YOUR holiday so ask yourself…what do I want?
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can happen during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.
Prioritize the things that make you feel good about the holidays. What are the things you’re looking forward to? What are the things you are dreading? Do more of what brings you joy and less of what brings you down.
Remember, above everything, that this is YOUR Christmas and the only way to thrive this season is to remember that you are in control.