If buying the perfect gift that’s likely out of your budget, baking an exquisite dessert that can could compete with those made by Martha Stewart, attending drunk Uncle’s holiday party, decorating your home to look like a photo straight out of Town and Country magazine, all while managing your usual daily responsibilities leaves you feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t alone. Stress, anxiety, and depression can crush your holiday spirit and be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Here are some practical tips to help you fend off the holiday blues:
I recently heard a quote that is my new favorite: By saying yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else. I tried to find the original author, but it appears that many people are taking credit for this brilliant thought. By agreeing to participate in a 3rd Secret Santa, are you taking an hour away from snuggle time with your kids or giving Fido his much-needed bath? I know that it can be hard to say no and even harder to rescind an offer once you agreed to do something. However, learning to say no can prevent burnout or even resentment. If you’re unsure, it’s okay to ask for time to think about it. You can also negotiate and make an offer that’s do-able for you. For example, “Susie, I do not have time to bake a dessert, but I would be happy to pick up a cake from the grocery store. Would you like for me to do that?” And if you just don’t want to do something, you could say, “Thanks for asking, but I do not have the time” or “I’m not available to help out this year.” Remember, there are only 24 hours in the day; how do you want to spend your 24 hours?
Self-care isn’t just about pedicures and massages. Self-care is anything you do to “fill up your gas tank.” Daily tasks require gas from our human (emotional and physical) gas tank. Like a car, if you don’t refuel, you’ll stall out. Self-care is subjective. What you do to refuel could be very different from what I do. And self-care doesn’t have to cost money. A long walk, a nap, or reading a book are forms of self-care. Self-care is also about what you do not do. Saying no and setting boundaries are a form of self-care (See above).
Pinterest can be great for ideas, but you probably don’t have time to arm-knit chunky blankets for twenty of your closest friends. Be kind to yourself. Don’t strive for perfection. Things will go wrong. You’ll run out of time. And then…it’ll all be over. Don’t let your goal of perfection take away from your experiences with family and friends.
Set a budget and stick to it. Suggest a family or office gift exchange to decrease the number of gifts you have to purchase. Better yet, give gifts from the heart like baked goods delivered on a re-usable platter or a “coupon” for your neighbor to walk her dog.
The holidays aren’t merry for all. If you’re missing a loved one or just feeling like Scrooge, allow yourself to experience those emotions. But don’t isolate.
Seek professional help if needed. You aren’t alone if you need extra support during this time of year.
If you found this blog post helpful, I suggest these blog posts, also written by yours truly: The Dark Side of Therapy and I Don't Have Time for Therapy...And Other Reasons to Consider Online Therapy.
Popular posts from this blog
10 Tips for Mental Wellness During COVID-19 The outbreak of COVID-19 is causing an increase in emotional distress including anxiety, depression, and feelings of powerlessness. Here are some actions that you can take to take care of your mental health during this time of uncertainty: 1. Get Moving! I see you there...on your couch...for the upteenth hour this week. This tip is for YOU! When you exercise, the brain releases feel good chemicals called endorphins. Who doesn't want more feel good chemicals??? Research has proved that exercise reduces depression and anxiety, improves self-esteem, and serves as stress relief. It's freaking science people! Get moving and feel better! You don't have to run a marathon of buy a state-of-the-art home gym. Do something you enjoy. Take a long walk with Fido, stretch while listening to your favorite tunes, jump on the trampoline with the kids, or challenge your best friend to a virtual competition of who can do the most body
Yet Another Blog Post about Gratitude (Read this One) It’s that time of year where every other blog post is about gratitude. ‘Tis the season, right? According to David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk, scholar, and author, who has inspired generations with his inspirational messages about finding gratitude in every moment of life, "The root of joy is gratefulness." Well, who doesn't want joy? But how does one do about becoming more grateful? The Stack of Blank Gratitude Journals Most people have heard of a gratitude journal. Oprah kept one daily for a decade and recommended that we all follow suit. But if you can barely remember or find time to brush your teeth before bedtime, you may find it hard to consistently keep a gratitude journal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea with many benefits. I have a collection of lovely journals including several attractive ones with motivational quotes on the cover that I just had to have. Unfortunately,
5 Lessons I Learned From My Dog My dog is awesome-sauce! But in addition to being man's, or in my case, woman's best friend, he is an incredible teacher of some pretty valuable life lessons. From Baxter, I have learned: 1. Communicate your needs. Make requests of others. When Baxter wants a walk, he growls at the front door. When he wants a treat, he stares at the treat jar and licks his lips (yes, I googled it. Dogs have lips...well, lip-like structures). When he wants to be petted, he nudges me with his cold, wet nose. Yet we "sophisticated" human beings stink at asking for what we want. Instead we expect others to know what we want. I, as a therapist, see this communication style in couples therapy. "He should know I want flowers for our anniversary." "By now, she should know that I don't like to drive long distances. I want her to drive." Ultimately those sessions end with someone frustratedly saying, "How would I know that? You never