Health Advocate Blog

Keeping the holidays simple this season

While the holidays can be a time for fun, joy and excitement, it is also typical to feel overwhelmed. And while things have changed since last year, many people may still feel uncertainty as to how to celebrate, which can add stress to an already busy time. However, by focusing on what matters most to you and your family and letting the rest go, it is possible to reconnect to the happiness that this season can bring. Keep these thoughts in mind as you head into this special time of year.

Set your own priorities. As the onslaught of holiday-themed photos begins populating your social media feed, it can be easy to feel like you’re not doing enough or buying enough to keep up with your friends and family. But it is important to find the balance that works for you. Stretching yourself too thin with either time or money will only lead to more stress down the road. Perhaps set aside time now to come up with a list of things that are important to you. Do you enjoy driving around to see holiday lights? Add that to the list, but don’t feel pressured to go out of your way or spend extra money visiting a special light display. Sticking to what matters to you will help you enjoy the season and minimize potential challenges.

Establish a budget. It can feel great to give gifts to others over the holidays, but make sure you stay within your budget. Whether this means cutting back on who you exchange with or getting creative with gift ideas, it is still possible to be generous and think of others without going beyond your means. Check out more tips here.

Schedule time for yourself. If you still have vacation time, use it! Even if you are not traveling this year, it is important to step away from work and do things that you enjoy. This could include going for a hike, baking holiday cookies to leave on neighbors’ doorsteps, doing some online gift shopping or simply watching a movie on the couch in your pajamas! The key is to take time to decompress and reset, which is more important now than ever.

Set your own boundaries. It is important to stick to what you are comfortable with when it comes to celebrating the holidays this year. It may lead to some difficult conversations with friends or family members, but you need to prioritize your physical and mental health and well-being first. Do not travel out of guilt or worry about asking any guests to follow your guidelines. It can also be tempting to go all out when we do celebrate this year to make up for what is missing, but continue to take care of yourself and do what works for you. Do not feel pressured to find holiday perfection and stretch yourself and your budget to the limits in the process. Recognize that this year will be different, and it is okay.

Take care of yourself. In the midst of everything else going on, continue to prioritize yourself. Find time to exercise and stay active – this can be a brisk outdoor walk or a quiet yoga practice in your living room. Continue to eat what nourishes your body. Do not skimp on sleep. And if you are experiencing challenges, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Contact friends or family or reach out to resources like your Employee Assistance Program for support. This support system will help you navigate this unusual time.

Focusing on what makes you happy this holiday season will go a long way toward helping you and those around you enjoy festivities while keeping feelings of being stressed or overwhelmed at bay. Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!