The holidays can be a time of great cheer and happiness as we celebrate with friends and family. However, as our schedules fill up and our “to-do” lists become longer, December can be a month of extra stress and anxiety. And, if you are caring for a loved one, the holiday season can feel even more overwhelming.
It is okay to slow down and give yourself a little bit of a break this year. Check out these tips from Amy Goyer at AARP on how to relax and enjoy yourself throughout the holiday season.
1. Focus on what is meaningful
It is easy to get all caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle. We want to make our holidays as perfect and as special as possible, but that is quite difficult to do. Instead of trying to do it all, focus on the festivities that will hold the most meaning for you and your family. Prioritize those traditions that will create some holiday cheer and good memories.
2. Simplify your holiday activities or start new traditions
You do have to go all out to have a joyous holiday season. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress by simplifying your usual holiday activities or simply trying something new. Instead of decorating your house yourself, try inviting a few friends over to help and have your loved ones nearby to watch. Or, instead of sending greeting cards, try sending e-greetings.
3. Adjust holiday meals
Holiday baking and cooking can be very time-consuming and exhausting. As a way to help alleviate some of this stress, try splitting up the cooking for the holiday meal among family members and guests. There is nothing wrong with a potluck. Also, try simplifying the menu and sticking to a few favorites that everyone will enjoy.
4. Remember holiday hot buttons
The holidays can certainly bring up and trigger feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, sadness, and loss. It may be best to limit your exposure to certain people, places, events, or conversations that may leave you feeling a little uneasy. Negative thinking will only make situations worse, so try to steer your mind to more positive thoughts when things become too overwhelming.
5. Down forget about self-care
Balancing your holiday “to-do” lists with caring for a loved one can leave you feeling tired and burned-out. It is easy to let self-care slip when so much of your time needs to be devoted to your family and making holiday plans. Be sure to remember to fill up your tank when you feel like you are running on empty. Get plenty of sleep, take some time to relax with friends, and do those holiday activities that will bring you joy and elevate your mood.