As the song says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year…” In some ways, that can be true. Houses and stores look festive with holiday decorations. Seasonal music is piped everywhere. People throw parties and get-togethers for friends and family. There is an abundance of well-wishes and gifts. It can all contribute to a feeling of positivity and gladness.
The flip side of all that holiday festivity is that it can be very overwhelming. The parties, the family, the presents, the cookie baking, the shopping, the incessant and never-ending playing of the “Hallelujah” Chorus over shopping mall loudspeakers. It can be a bit much. While we might look forward to spending time with family members or enjoying parties with friends, those events can leave us feeling stressed out and tired and cranky.
If this scenario sounds like your December’s past, then here are a few tips on how to disconnect from the holiday anxiety and managing all the stress that arrives with the rest of the decorations.
Holiday disconnecting tips:
- First and foremost, remember this is about self-care. Self-care is not selfish. Say it with me again– self-care is not selfish. Those are two different things. Self-care is about making healthy emotional, physical, and mental decisions for yourself in a way that preserves your well-being. Selfish is about making decisions that are focused solely on what you want, regardless of whether or not it’s a healthy choice. Selfish tends to hurt others. Self-care is like saying “I’m making this choice so that I can be my best for you.”
- Start by looking at your calendar with your immediate family. Write in those events that you absolutely don’t want to miss (or can’t miss, like your work office party). Once that’s complete, then decide as a family what else you may want to add– or what needs to be taken off the calendar.
- Consider limiting yourself to 2-4 events per weekend. Think about it. How many cookie swaps, office parties, church socials, book club meetings, and family gatherings can you really attend before you’re feeling overloaded and stressed? And if you’re overloaded and stressed, how much fun are you going to have at those events? Don’t you want to have fun? Just sayin’.
- Include some time for yourself to decompress and relax. It doesn’t have to be huge chunks of time either. Perhaps you take a walk through the park on your lunch hour. Or you can listen to a favorite holiday CD during your commute. Or you eat a quick lunch with a friend to commiserate about the in-laws. Or you add an extra 5 minutes to your regular meditation practice. Schedule “me” time into the calendar just like all the other events. It’s equally as important during busy times. Sometimes even more so!
Have a fun, festive, and mostly relaxed holiday season!
And if you’re still feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed after trying these tips, consider giving me a call and scheduling a few music therapy sessions to help you manage the holidays.