If you haven’t already felt the crushing wave of the holiday season, you soon will. The end of the year parties and get-togethers may seem to all spill into one another, but how can you actually find the time to enjoy the holiday season rather than just rushing through it all?
When things start to feel out of control, it's important to take care of yourself. Below are 5 tips to keep you from feeling the storm during the season.
Make a Seasonal List (and Check It Twice!)
Keeping a list of the things you need to get done for the holidays can not only help you stay organized, it can also help you stay calm. The holidays can become chaotic: Whose house to go to on what day? What food item to bring where? What ingredients do you need? And which presents to shop for?
For those of you with a short list, hats off to you! But for those of you that have family and friends galore and the list of gift-giving and grocery shopping keeps growing: work to organize it. This will help you from overspending when you get to the store.
Make the list and stick to it. Use a planner to track out your shopping days, your decorating days, and the days you are visiting with people. Then check it twice.
Choosing easy-to-follow, plant-based recipes during this time of year is another solid way to save time and money. Plus, knowing that you have a healthy way to keep fueled up for that hectic schedule helps deliver even more peace of mind.
Remember to Unplug!
Unplugging for the holidays is more than just sticking your smartphone or other tech devices into another room for a few hours. Instead, it’s about making a concerted effort to give your brain a break and allow yourself to enjoy life’s small pleasures: the company of loved ones, truly enjoying a meal without first snapping photos of it, or even just having some mental downtime.
If you’re already stressed, too much tech time can make you feel more anxious and increase levels of depression.
The endless social media scrolling can eventually take a toll on mental health. Luckily, unplugging for the holidays can reverse those effects.
4 Tips for Unplugging for the Holidays
Ready to unplug but not sure how? These tips will help you have a tech-free holiday and enjoy the benefits of unplugging for the holidays.
1. Get Everyone on Board
It’s a lot easier to stay away from your smartphone if everyone else you’re with follows suit. Let family and friends know you’d like to do a digital detox during your time together. Have everyone turn their phones off, then collect the devices and keep them in a separate room.
2. Pre-Plan Activities
The day might seem “boring” if everyone’s phone is taken and there’s no plan for entertainment. Pre-empt this, and design a list of activities everyone can get involved in. From making a delicious mushroom pot pie and watching a movie to going on a hike, baking cookies or playing board games, you’ll be surprised by how much fun you can have together without your handheld electronic devices.
3. Create a Quiet Moment
Never shy away from taking a moment to sit still in the chaos and just breathe. Prepare a hot cup of tea packed with antioxidants is a great way to calm and focus your mind (If you’re sensitive to caffeine or tannins, you may experience some side effects if you drink green tea). Invite a family member or friend to sip a cup with you, allowing that quiet moment to be shared.
4. Keep Your Phone Out of the Bedroom at Night
Invest in an alarm clock, and keep your phone out of the room when you’re getting ready to sleep — ideally, you’ll turn it off at least an hour beforehand. You’ll steer clear of the blue light that can keep you awake and won’t start your day with a social media blitz.
Research shows that gratitude releases endorphins, happy thoughts, and warm feelings. Try it. Go ahead. Think of something you need to thank someone for. Or, better yet, make a habit of listing the things you are thankful for before bed each night.
This daily habit of giving thanks, especially during the holiday season, can keep you feeling joyful in the times that become hectic and stressful. Once a day during the holiday season reflect on what you are thankful for that day. It will make the holiday rush much more enjoyable (the way it should be).
Make Time for Self Care
Believe it or not, part of the holidays is making sure to treat yourself, too! Whatever the best self care routine for you is, follow it!
Ever take time for yourself and the next day feel so energized? It’s because you finally took time to recharge. During this time of the year, sit back, relax, and reflect. Schedule the time for yourself.
Simple Self Care Ideas
- Dim the lights and close your eyes. Sit in silence. If you are at work and have a private office, try a 5-minute meditation to reduce anxiety.
- Take some deep breaths. Some people when they are anxious actually forget to break. The first step then is to take some regular breaths and then to try some deep breaths to calm yourself.
- Quietly sip a cup of tea or another warm beverage.
- Work on a cross word puzzle or any game you enjoy.
- Write in a journal or on a piece of paper. Not everyone finds writing relaxing but often it can be therapeutic. If you are feeling anxious and not sure why, this is something you could do. Writing just stream of consciousness often allows yourself the opportunity to uncover what is bothering you.
- Take a midday walk, bike to work, or practice yoga at the end of the day. Whatever activity you enjoy, just make sure you move. Virtually any form of exercise can be a stress relief, and all it takes is around 30 minutes a day. Movement can also help with self-confidence and positivity, pumping up your endorphins in addition to stress relief.
Finally, if you find you have parties scheduled almost every weekend, you might find it difficult to fit it all in. Busy holiday schedules are unavoidable, but if you can, weed out those events that you can omit instead of just accepting everything. Learning to say “no” might be the best holiday gift you give yourself this year.