Holidays can be a lot of fun but they can also be really stressful. Here are some ways you can manage your stress through the holidays and enjoy them more.
Remember that it’s only about one month from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and you’ve made it through the holidays before, you can do it again, and it will all be over in no time.
Plan some self-care time on your calendar right after the holidays so you have something to look forward to when they’re over. It could be as simple as coffee with friends, something just for you like going to a movie or getting your nails done, or as fancy as a full-on spa day. Whatever is in your budget, accessible and is something relaxing that you’ll look forward to.
Don’t overbook your time. Prioritize the most important gatherings, parties, traditions etc. and skip the rest. Say no to tasks asked of you that you don’t have the time or energy for.
Check in with your body daily. Are you tired and need extra rest? Feeling dehydrated and need some water? Forgot to eat and missed a meal? Overstimulated and need some time alone? Be aware of how you’re feeling physically and take care of those basic physical needs.
Do your normal healthcare routines – take your medications, keep regular healthcare and mental health appointments, etc.
Ask for help if you need it or delegate holiday tasks.
Take a deep breath and find things to laugh about.
And one more thing: have realistic expectations. Expect that the holidays won’t be perfect but can still be enjoyable. Remember, today is a gift, that is why the call it the present!
Heather Cox is a licensed Social Services Worker, Certified Dementia Specialist, Trainer, and RCI REACH Caregiver Coach with a B.S. in Psychology. She's been with AAA-Five County since 2013 and has worked in social services in southwest Utah since 2008.