It is officially December, and the most joyous time of the year is around the corner. Well, it is supposed to be the happiest time of year.
If you come from divorced parents like me, or have a complicated family, suffer from anxiety, or don’t live close to friends/ family – holidays can be rough.
There is also the other end of the spectrum where we go all in, and wear ourselves out. We finish the season out suffering from pure exhaustion. Whether it is hosting, shopping for your kids, or cooking non stop for work /school parties, it is easy to hit burn out. I’ve been there.
Over the last few months I’ve been seeing a therapist as part of self care. I was getting panic attacks, dealing with serious family issues, dealing with my own auto immune disease flaring up, and burning out on all ends. One of my best friends bought me a subscription to a meditation app for my birthday because she was so worried about my stress levels.
I had to stop and evaluate what was going on with me. I was doing everything else for everyone else. I didn’t give my own self a chance to be taken care of. So, I finally did what I should have done a year ago. I started seeing my now fabulous therapist. She has given me a lot of strategies that I think can help our readers too.
1: Make at least 30 minutes a day for yourself.
This 30 minutes is without social media, news, or other stressful triggers.
As I mentioned before my friend purchased me a subscription to a meditation app. This app is called Headspace. It is a simple meditation app who’s slogan is “Stress less, focus more, and even sleep better.” There are tons of guided meditations that you can chose from that last 3, 5, or 9 minutes. The meditations can be as simple as breathing to calm your body and mind. Or they can be more complex and talk you through feelings of inadequacy, managing conflict in relationships, dealing with regret, and even jealousy. I spend a portion of my daily 30 doing at least one of these meditations and it has really helped me manage my anxiety. It also helps me put into perspective what is an important stressor and what is not.
If I am not using this time to meditate, I read, crochet ( I know I’m an old lady, but I’ve made some great stuff), paint, play music, paint my nails, etc. Anything that does not require my input into an other person’s time. Try it, seriously, even the smallest half hour has made a huge difference in my life and I think it can help anyone.
2. Set a firm limit on gifts and stick to it.
Is it just me, or is commercialism taking hostage of our holidays earlier and earlier each year. I went to a store this year and Christmas decorations were up before Halloween. I mean what the actual fuck?
It’s not just in stores, but on every commercial, every Instagram story, every other blogger post. Everything is buy buy and buy more. I purposely did not post anything for Black Friday this year because I’m pretty over the greed less than 24 hours giving thanks with loved ones.
How do we not get sucked into gift giving mania? Set a list of those who mean the most to you and set a firm budget. When you shop do not go past your budget. This year I have chosen to make a lot of my friends and family gifts. Not because I don’t have the budget to buy gifts, but because I feel good creating for people I love.
You also don’t have to be the craftiest person to make a gift either. You can put together a simple gift basket, make a scrub, or do tons of easy inexpensive DIYs.
I was reading a great article on Elite Daily and here is a great quote from their resident psychologist on holiday gift giving:
“Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC tells Elite Daily that prioritizing your inner circle is a great way to cut down on costs. On a similar note, Dr. Steven Levine, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and founder and CEO of Actify Neurotherapies, tells Elite Daily that the most meaningful gifts are the ones that probably cost very little. So, before getting wrapped up in the materialism of the holiday season, take a step back to consider what really matters most this time of year.”
3. Limit Social Media
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to limit my social media intake this time of year. I know as a blogger, it’s basically bad for business, but hear me out. All these girls posting up their designer belts, and $300 dollar super sale boots are not healthy to see all the time.
Social media images are filtered by Lightroom, apps upon apps, and are an altered reality. We use Lightroom for our blog, its a great tool, but combined with Photoshop it is not always used responsibly.
There are only so many times you can see super skinny people with glamorous new clothes, and impeccable makeup before you start feeling really bad about yourself. At least I do.
So I have chosen to yes post on my Instagram, but I refuse to compare myself to girls that are skinnier than me, prettier, have more money etc. The moment I feel those insecurities bubble up, I sign off for a few days. Then the next time I go back, I am more mindful of how not to get back in the negative space.
4. Take care of your physical health.
If your body is running on empty, your mind will eventually catch up. This month is the busiest for most people and for me it is non stop . So here are a few ways to incorporate wellness into your daily routine without blinking.
- If you’re at a grocery store grab a low sugar green juice like Suja, and force yourself to drink it.
- Take your vitamins. Olly has delicious gummy ones that are basically healthy candy. You can manage that.
- Sleep. Even if you need to take melatonin to get to sleep, do it. Not sleeping runs havoc on your body and brain.
- Exercise when you can. Even if it is getting a round of squats in during a commercial break. Your seratonin and endorphin levels will thank you.
- Instead of going for the second cup of coffee, go for a green tea. The antioxidants will boost your immune system.
- Put plants in your home. I’m serious. I wrote last year about a study conducted by NASA. The study found people with plants had better physical health.
- Water, water, and more water.
I hope this posts helps you have a healthy, happy, and well holiday season. I would love to hear your thoughts below. Love you guys!