Despite its reputation as “the most wonderful time of the year,” the holiday season can spark some not-so-merry emotions.
From the frantic gift shopping to the constant party prepping, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even a little bit over it.
Luckily, a few strategies can help you maintain your sanity during the madness.
Here are six little ways to take care of yourself when the holidays feel like too much.
1. Give yourself permission to be present.
Holiday shopping might be burning a hole in your wallet, but there’s always room to treat yourself to some much-needed mindfulness. So instead of habitually refreshing your email and half-watching Instagram stories, simply embrace the opportunity to unwind with your loved ones. While it’s challenging to fully resist the holiday hustle and bustle, some intentional chill time can go a long way.
2. Don’t skip out on quality self-care.
Your calendar is probably stacked with gift exchanges and get-togethers, but there’s no reason to drop self-care from the lineup. Try your best to work some uninterrupted “me time” into your chaotic days, whether it’s a quick morning walk or an evening meditation. Block off time for self-care strategies in advance so you can stay on top of your game.
3. Get in touch with your grateful side.
With everyone showcasing their holiday experiences all over social media, it’s common to get caught up in the comparison trap. When you catch yourself feeling insecure about your single status or less-than-perfect family dynamic, it’s especially critical to practice gratitude for everything you do have. Try journaling about your tried-and-true support system or making a mental note of your all-time favorite memories from this year.
4. Maintain realistic expectations.
You can strive to eliminate conflict, but family scuffles will still happen. You can know a recipe like the back of your hand but end up zoning out and missing a crucial step. The point is, the holidays can go from smooth sailing to serious shitshow real quick. Instead of panicking about potential bumps in the road, keep in mind that it’s those unexpected occurrences that usually result in the best inside jokes.
5. Set boundaries and stick to them.
The holidays are stressful enough as it is — don’t make things worse by overextending yourself. So when you feel your social battery running dangerously low, listen to your body and leave the party. When you say you’re staying for just one drink, avoid letting a friend guilt trip you into sticking around. The holidays may bring more obligations than usual, but you always have the power to take a step back.
6. Remind yourself of the big picture.
You will ultimately conquer that never-ending shopping list. That awkward meet-the-parents dinner will eventually come to an end. When you head back to the office, will you reflect on all of the time you spent worrying and running last-minute errands? No. You will recall the laughs. You will look back on the new milestone that made this year extra special. You might even realize that this crazy time of year is finally starting to grow on you.