FaLaLa! The holiday season is upon us, even before we are able to digest Thanksgiving treats! Do you feel the buzz in the air? The pressure to get everything “done” or “perfect”? You are not alone! In fact, researchers say that up to 25% of people in the US experience a holiday-related depression or anxiety. So maybe everyone ISN’T merry right now…
Funny, not funny, but as a therapist for women, my phone starts ringing OFF. THE. HOOK. after Thanksgiving. Women who have spent time with family, in-laws, maybe too much time with the kids. Women who feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, some really not feeling the “spirit” of the holidays, most who feel guilt. All of whom are searching for better ways to cope and not only SURVIVE the holiday hustle, but hopefully even THRIVE, and dare I say it? Relax and ENJOY this time!
Here are a few of my favorite things that I share often with my clients. Think of it as a “gift guide” for your mental health…haha! Get it? (Trying to be a blogger…)
YOU CAN SAY NO TO THE COOKIE EXCHANGE (SORRY, KAREN…)
Or the ornament exchange, or the open house. Also? You don’t have to give a REASON. Nope. Not required by etiquette (or at least according to a boundary-encouraging therapist’s book of etiquette). Setting boundaries with your time creates more space to be mindful and intentional with the gatherings you CHOOSE to enjoy. I once heard “If it’s not a HECK YES!!!” when you receive an invitation, you can respectfully decline. Does Karen REEEALLY care if you are not there? You only see her at the PTA bake sale once a year… (***disclaimer: I don’t know anyone named Karen on our PTA, nor have I done a bake sale…)
BE PREPARED FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T THINK/ACT LIKE YOU
How many of your holiday gatherings are met with some anxiety around a certain person or people that will be there? Will your uncle start talking politics at the table? Does your cousin judge you for having gluten in your spread? Or good LORD, if someone tries to give you parenting advice?! Try this: imagine you’re in a bubble. No words of idiocy can enter said bubble. Just smile and nod inside the bubble, all while breathing deeply. Clench teeth to prevent yourself from reacting. If needed, step outside in the frigid cold air to cool off. Repeat until time is up. (***Disclaimer: these scenarios are COMPLETELY made up…we don’t talk politics in our house and we LOVE us some gluten-filled AND gluten-free treats for my celiac sistah.)
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT
Repeat after me: “Good enough, is good enough”. Spending time, money, and energy chasing after an impossible goal is crazy, right? RIGHT?! If you find yourself in a tizzy, redecorating your entire house for your company that’s coming, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. STOP. Breathe. Take a step back, and ask yourself “does this REALLY matter?” or “would my company not love me for having my house look this way?”. I HOPE the answer to both of those is “NO”. If it’s “yes”, to either one, I would suggest talking through some of that. Xo (***disclaimer: I MAY have redecorated my dining room the day before Thanksgiving, but it was due! Whoops.)
MOVE YOUR BODY
Do NOT let the holiday parties or shopping trips or late nights baking get the best of you. Time to work out doesn’t just appear…like, ever. You have to MAKE IT. Can’t go for a run or hit the gym? No problem! Stretch, and do some breathing exercises. It can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure (which both become elevated with stress and anxiety). I can do an entire book on the benefits of exercise for mood and brain health. Just trust me on this one.
Y’all, I could write a BOOK on all the things that can be stressful or hard during this time of year. Wish I had time! ha! I hope this helps!