By Megan Broadhead. It is easy to let your own well-being go by the wayside during the holiday season. Let’s explore ways to take care of yourself and ensure stress is kept at bay.
- Adjust expectations when needed. Don’t have time to have photos professional made and order holiday cards? It’s ok. You didn’t "throw together" Martha Stewart- approved, crafty and creative dining room table decor for your holiday meal this season? It’s OK. Allow yourself some flexibility this season. Do what you can and let it be ENOUGH.
- Say “NO” when you need to say “no.” Is it realistic to lug four kids, your partner and a casserole to three different holiday parties in one day just to please each host? If it will cause you nothing but stress and anxiety, it’s not realistic. Just say “no.”
- Eat food that fuels your body and don’t deprive yourself. Exercise for added energy- not to compensate for food you’ve eaten or hope to eat. You’ll be more present with those close to you and more satisfied physically and emotionally if you are able to honor your body’s hunger as well as your body’s need for movement. The holidays tend to be a great time for people to rationalize ignoring their body’s needs- do yourself a favor and take care of your body AND enjoy this season and the food and activities that come with it. Both are possible!
- Fight the urge to compare. This is easier said than done! We look at the gifts others give, their annual family ski trips in celebration of the holidays, their big, beautiful homes decked out in holiday cheer, and we have this uncanny tendency to compare our lives to theirs. This is unhelpful. Instead, make a point of looking at what you have and expressing gratefulness for it. This practice is all about intentionality, and it makes all the difference in the world.
- When you need to get away, go. Know what you need to relax. If you’re hosting a house full of guests, find a quiet space- even if it’s your master bedroom’s half bathroom or closet (been there, done that!). Just take five (or 45), and then return to the activities.
Stress is a normal physical, mental and emotional reaction to being overstimulated. Many of us tend to overextend ourselves; we thrive off of stress...until we don't. It can be helpful...until it isn't and we collapse in a burnt-out heap leaving our friends and family wondering what in the world happened.
You don't have to collapse in a heap of burnout and exhaustion. Make sure you are being aware of the choices you have in keeping stress at a low level. I think you'll find the season's joy can more readily be experienced when stress is at it's lowest. :)