Surviving Holiday Stress
When I moved to California in September of this year, I knew then that I probably wasn’t going to be able to make it home for the holidays. I had just spent a month on the East Coast during the summer, and I was just starting a new job. Add those factors to plane ticket prices of upwards of $800 to fly home and take at least a week off to visit my family and my boyfriend’s family, I had to make the more responsible decision to not take the long trek back for Christmas.
Although it was a bummer (still is a bummer) I still want to make the most out of the holiday season and celebrate as much as possible with my boyfriend. Along with our respective work holiday parties, we also scheduled a short little trip for Christmas. Something a lot cheaper and more time efficient that flying back east but will also help us be in the holiday spirit.
However, I still feel as if I have this nervousness surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas...and for the hell of it, lets through New Years in as well. When you become an adult, the holidays are an entirely different beast. From Halloween to New Years there is a nonstop frenzy of traveling, shopping, cooking, spending money, and dressing up. From Halloween costumes It seems like you have an endless list of gifts to buy for the people that you love, with a budget so small you just don’t know how you are going to do it all. All of this happens so fast, and it is very easy to get anxious and nervous about how you are going to make it all happen.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and like you are not doing enough to “make it work”. Especially us women. A Lot of the time we feel obligated to make sure everyone else has a good time, and enjoy themselves during the holidays. In doing so, we forget to enjoy it ourselves. Today I want to share some of my tips and lessons I’ve learned to help me navigate through all of the holiday season stressors.
Let's get this out of the way first: Having a budget is essential to surviving the holidays. If you are allowing yourself to spend, spend, spend with no accountability, you will end up stressing about money a lot. It’s very easy to allow yourself to get out of control spending money on decorations, traveling, and presents. Set a firm budget. What you are willing to spend and stick to it. This is going to save you a lot of stress in the long run. Don’t start the new year with an empty bank account.
Delegate your time
The holidays fly by. Especially when your trying to fit in as many parties, dinners, and festivities as possible before all of the magic runs out. If you try to do everything and be everywhere you will stress yourself out and could spread yourself very thin.
Try to spend time on the things, and with the people that are most important to you. Place a limit on how many parties you’re going to attend and how many White Elephant presents you are going to buy. You can also limit how many “holiday themes” activities you do. Make sure your schedule not only fits in your financial budget, but also your personal time budget.
Keep your expectations in check
One of the toughest challenges to face during Christmas is managing your expectations versus reality. We all want the holidays to look picturesque like a Norman Rockwell painting and make us feel like it did when we were children. We want a bottomless bank account and perfect party outfits. None of that is realistic. Our inability to manage our expectations causes unnecessary stress, anxiety, and even for some of us, depression.
Repeat after me: keep your expectations in check.
Understand that some presents won’t be bought, some party invites my not come, Christmas decorations may not turn out Instagram worthy, and the chances of there being a white Christmas is slim to none. Live in the moment and enjoy what is happening around you AS it’s happening. That’s the best way to make the holidays special and joyful. Be ready to make new memories out of your current realities, and be less anxious to recreate a fantasy of what things are supposed to be like.
Don’t forget your self-care
You’re everyday routine will be disrupted by all of your Holiday festivities and that can be a good thing. Breaking up the monotony of your life can inspire you and boost your energy and mood. However, it can also allow you to neglect your self-care routine. This is the time when you need to take care of yourself the most. Be sure not to skip out on your meditations, massage, appointments, evening walks, gym time, or whatever else it is that you do to take care of your mental health. Make yourself, and your mental health, priority for the holidays.
If at anytime during the holidays you find yourself stressed out and anxious it’s important to take stock of the moment and rethink your approach to the stressor. Cut back when you need to, say no when it is best for you, and don’t spend more than you can handle. The holidays are the most magical time of the year, but you are not a wizard and you cannot do it all. Take care of yourself this holiday season so that you can enjoy all the amazing things happening around you.
My Posts regarding mental health are only for informational and entertainment purposes only. If you of someone that you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, please reach out to a certified mental health professional.