The holidays can be a beautiful time for some folks, memories of traditions, community, and comfort can make this “the most wonderful time of the year”. For others, memories of scarcity, arguing, and disappointment can be more prevalent making this a very stressful time of the year. With inspiration from Glennon Doyle’s podcast “We Can Do Hard Things”, here are a few thoughts and actions to consider this holiday season.
- It does not have to be “the most wonderful time of the year” – what pressure! To make this time “the most wonderful”. Make this time of the year whatever it needs to be for you, this might mean setting boundaries around the number of holiday parties you attend, the length of time you spend at said parties, or just pushing through the dark, cold months of winter waiting for summer. Mindset shifts and reframing can help, but it’s okay if this is not “the most wonderful time of the year” for you.
- Be “unsurprised” – Sometimes families bring up controversial and uncomfortable topics during the holidays, chances are if your family is one of those families you already know it. You know that Aunt Karen will make comments about Weight Watchers points and ask why you aren’t married yet. You know that Uncle George will make a homophobic or racist comment. Remember that these opinions will not be changed over dinner, but be prepared to protect your own heart and values – this might look like knowing what you’ll say when these comments are made or knowing that you can leave the room if you need a break. Prepare yourself if you think something like this may happen.
- Take time for yourself – read a book, stretch, or go for a walk even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
- Fuel your body – Remind yourself that regardless of the holiday, it is just another day that your body needs nourishment! Do your best to eat three meals a day, you don’t need to “save” yourself for the big dinner. Be mindful of when you are hungry (and when you are not) and let your body tell you what you need. You are worthy of enjoying good food.
- Spend within your means – there can be so much pressure buy buy buy which can cause a tremendous financial burden on some families. Melissa Urban breaks down what her family does for the holidays in an article here (https://www.melissau.com/xomu/no-gift-guide-part-1/), and there are other tricks for limiting unnecessary spending such as using the direction of “something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read”. Making a shift will involve having a conversation with your family about what this will look like and it may involve setting difficult boundaries.
- This is your holiday – just like any other day of the year, these days are yours, so spend them how you choose and how best serves you. Of course this may mean compromising with loved ones, however you do not need to compromise your well-being, values, or mental health.
We hope these few ideas help ease the stress that often accompanies this time of the year. We would love to hear from you how you manage this busy time!
As always, if you are looking for support for yourself or someone you know, Spot to Talk offers complimentary consultations for prospective clients, we would love to get in touch and see if our services would be a good fit for you.