Ahhh the silly season, are you looking forward to it or dreading it?
I mean, I'm excited about celebrations, having my family here and having some time off to do nothing than just relax. And my little guy is alll about it this year so his enthusiasm is making it pretty spesh.
But I'm so aware that for a LOT of people it's a really stressful and anxiety-inducing time dealing with loss, isolation, being separated from people you care about, family conflict, financial difficulties, loneliness or mental health issues.
Women in particular, often feel a huge burden of extra responsibility with buying and preparing food, sourcing presents and dealing with family feuds.
Combine that with eating and drinking more than usual, getting less sleep and exercise, and spending more money than they can afford on gifts that sometimes are less than appreciated, and it's a recipe for stress and axiety!
Here's some way to look after YOU so that you don't burn out and can actually enjoy yourself without all the extra burden.
Evaluate your priorites
Make self-care a priority by giving yourself permission to put yourself first. It sooo much harder to care for others if you are feeling stressed. The pressures of a busy holiday season can make some people feel worn-out, so do not feel guilty for putting yourself first!
Create time to rest and recharge between events
Pace yourself this Christmas and pay attention to your energy levels. If you need a break, allow yourself to have some me-time. It could be as simple as reading a book for a while or watching your favourite movie; anything that allows you to switch your mind off and relax.
Just say no to anything you don't want to do
Only participate in those activities that have significance for you and decline the activities which cause stress or are insignificant for you. Be assertive and know it is OK to say no. Put your wellbeing first and don’t over commit yourself. It’s ok to decline someone’s offer or invitation without feeling guilty or shamefuland it's absolutely essential to put yourself first!
Be clear on boundaries
Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and a healthy life. Understand and communicate your limits to your loved ones to avoid feeling resentment! If you're already overcommited, be clear on not taking on any extra responsibilities.
Get restful exercise
Exercising can be huge mood booster and a great way get you out of your own head for a while. Sometimes finding time or motivation can be difficult, so start small and set realistic goals. Try to get restful exercise such as yoga, stretching and walking in the outdoors to counter all the running around you're likely doing.
Get enough zzzzzzs
In such a busy and stressful time, it’s important to recharge your batteries. Make sure you’re trying for 8 hours sleep a night to avoid feeling exhausted.
Ask for and expect help from family
If you are not coping, communicate openly and remember it’s ok to say “no”. Don’t carry the entire burden. Have clear lines of communication with your partner and ask for help if you're feeling overwhlemed. If you're having family stay make it clear that you are not the only one to be relied upon for cooking, cleaning , and entertaining.
Try to drink in moderation
Alcohol can have a negative impact on our mental health, so make informed choices and know your limits when it comes to drinking.
Have realistic expectations of family and friends
Just because it is Christmas, does not mean the attitudes or behaviours of relatives and friends will change. Accept this and plan how you will respond to help keep things positive and productive.
Remember you're note alone
Lots of people find Christmas difficult. Stay strong and seek connection with others if you are struggling, there are still support organisations open at this time of year if you need them. If you are struggling to cope, find someone you can talk to, or have a list of supports at the reayd if you feel you may need it.
This festive season, try and go a bit easy on you. Make some time to fill your cup and give yourself some breathing space.
Self care at all times of the year is important, but at this time with all that extra burden? It's essential.