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Taking Care of Yourself During The Holidays

December 26, 2021

The holidays are filled with decorating and baking, gift buying, and travel plans. And that can lead to stress and, for many, an emotional roller coaster ride. A little self-care will help make the holidays far less stressful and more fun.

Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself during the holidays:

  1. Be realistic. Holidays don’t have to be perfect – or just like they were when the kids were small. As families change and grow, so do traditions. Hold on to a few, then be willing to create new ones. For example, if relatives can’t come for the holidays, find new ways to celebrate. Maybe you can share pictures or meet virtually on a video call.
  2. Reach out for support. If you feel lonely or isolated, connect with someone – friends, family, social groups, or religious communities. Many organizations have websites, online support groups, social media sites, or virtual events that offer support and companionship. It’s also a great time to volunteer your time or help others. This can lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Stick to a budget. Before buying any gifts or holiday groceries, decide how much you can afford to spend – then stick to the budget. You cannot buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
  4. Set a schedule. We get overwhelmed because there are never enough hours to do what we want. Create a schedule that lets you do what’s most important – and doable. Set aside days to shop, bake, connect with friends, and do other activities. Shop online if you can. Buy groceries only after you’ve planned specific menus. Then recruit friends and family to help with meal prep and cleanup.
  5. Recognize your limits. Don’t agree to do something if you don’t have time. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. And, if you need to do something you hadn’t intended – like working late because the boss asked – then take something off your list to make up for the lost time.
  6. Take care of your health. Don’t let the holidays ruin healthy habits. Overindulgence only adds to stress and guilt. Instead, eat healthy meals, get plenty of sleep, get some exercise every day, de-stress with yoga and meditation, or get some other exercise. And think about reducing the amount of time you spend with the news or social media. Both can contribute to increased stress.
  7. Ask for professional help if you need it. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, irritable, or unable to face routine chores. If these feelings persist, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. If you don’t have a doctor, call Grady at (404) 616-1000 and we’ll schedule you for an appointment with a doctor near you. For 24/7 access to crisis services, please call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) at 1-800-715-4225.

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Take steps to prevent the stress and depression that often affects people during the holidays. Anticipate the holiday stress triggers – like money or time demands – so you can control them before they control you. A little planning can help make holidays a lot more peaceful and joyful.

Holiday Stress and Self-Care