‘It’s the most magical time of the year…’ but it can also be the most stressful!
While most of us look forward to the holiday festivities, there’s no denying that it can also be a time filled with different pressures, challenges and stress.
It doesn’t have to be this way – and with a little bit of prep and expectation setting, you can set yourself up for a season filled with great experiences.
Here are our top tips for staying grounded this holiday season, but don’t let that stop you from using them all year!
Your Emotional Wellbeing
1. Make Some Time for You
It can be challenging to keep up with all the Christmas cheer – especially when you don’t feel festive – and that’s ok. Remember to keep some time aside just for you.
Indulge in hobbies that are just for you – whether reading, writing, playing sports, gaming, listening to, or playing music – whatever helps you find your zen, keep it all about you.
2. Don’t Let Commitments Build Up
The holidays can sometimes mean we forget about those more undesirable commitments – a school project or essay, revising for impending exams, reading that school book – until the last minute, and then panic and stress!
Make a plan to get small chunks done daily or weekly, and stick to it! You’ll work through your commitments quicker than you think, so you’ll be ready to start the new year with a fresh mind.
3. Reassurances Over Resolutions
Research shows when we make goals but don’t achieve them, we end up feeling worse about ourselves – where’s the fun in that?!
Instead of resolutions this new year, think about setting reassurances instead. Make a list of all you achieved this year – small wins, significant accomplishments, and nice things people said to you or about you. Build your list and keep it somewhere visible in your room or in a notebook you can refer to.
Whenever you feel you’re not achieving things or life feels a bit too much, read through everything that made you feel good – motivation is on point!
Your Physical Wellbeing
1. Don’t Over Indulge in all that Festive Food!
It looks so good, smells great, and tastes even better! We can be severely tempted to overindulge in all the treats during the holiday season!
And while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, it’s important to remember how much of an impact all this food has on us – not only our bodies and fitness but our emotional health too.
Too much sugar can lead to a nice sugar high, but the crash could be better!
Be conscious of what you’re consuming, drink plenty of water and keep an eye on those portion sizes. Your digestive system, and frame of mind, will thank you for it!
2. And mind the Christmas drinks too.
With more alcohol around, and everyone enjoying the festive season, it can be easy to feel tempted or pressured into drinking alcohol, or if you’re legally allowed to drink, into drinking more alcohol than you should.
Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, is loaded with sugar, and is a depressant (it can make you feel depressed). There’s nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol responsibly, but know your limits, drink plenty of water, and don’t feel pressured into drinking just because it’s the holiday season.
3. Find an Exercise that Works for YOU.
Doing something because it’s ‘healthy’ or ‘popular’ but doesn’t leave you feeling good or energised is not always the best thing to do.
Find a physical activity you love – whether it be the gym, a group class, a solo run, dancing in your room, swimming in the ocean, walking the dog, getting your friends together to skate, play ball or shoot hoops – make time for regular, daily, exercise, make sure it works for you and enjoy doing it!
Your Social Wellbeing
1.Don’t Feel Pressured
Adverts and social media constantly tell us to buy more and give more – it’s easy to feel pressured. It’s the thought that counts, and a small, thoughtful gift will have more impact than flashy, expensive things (that we can’t afford and leave us more stressed than before the holiday season!).
Make a budget, plan your gifts and stick to it. Avoid ‘Gift Guilt’ (when someone you haven’t bought a gift for buys you one!) by telling people up front if you can’t afford to do gift swapping with them, but plan some time together instead of doing an activity you’ll all enjoy.
2. Quality Time over Quantity Time
It’s easy to feel like everyone is having more fun, doing more, and feeling happier during this time of the year, and we often overstretch ourselves trying to keep up. Stressful!
Only commit to social events that make you feel good, don’t be scared to cancel on something if you’ve already got a lot on, and produce quality time for the people that matter – your close family and friends.
Pick activities you know your parents or siblings will enjoy and make a day of it together. Because, after all, that’s what this season is really about.
3. Try a Digital Detox
On the note of social media, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the portrayal of other people’s lives – seeing what they’re doing and how much happier/better/exciting their life is than our own, which can leave us feeling down and out about our own lives.
Remember, people often carefully choose what they share on social media to show the best parts of their life, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t also struggling in some areas. A digital detox (keeping off social media, even just for a few hours, a day, or even a week) can significantly impact how we view the quality of our lives.
Don’t Just Survive: Thrive!
The holiday season is about having FUN, remembering what we’re grateful for in our lives, spending time with those we love, and most of all, RELAXING at the end of the year, ready for a fresh new one!
These tips are not exhaustive; they’re starting points – you can pick the ones you like and try them or use them to inspire your top tips.
This year can be challenging for many reasons, so if you’re feeling down, sad or stressed and can’t seem to shake the mood, remember to speak to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. It’s the best starting point to start feeling better.