Staying sane during the holidays

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Photo by: Tori Nagode

The holidays should be a time of relaxation and time spent with loved ones, but it often turns into one of the most stressful times of the year. With a long to-do list, countless events, gift-buying, this winter “break” can get intense very fast. However, it is still possible to enjoy the holidays with all this going on. Here are some strategies to help you maintain your sanity during the holidays.

Don’t wait until last minute

This is probably the best way to avoid stress. Don’t wait until the last minute to go gift shopping, plan meeting up with friends, or getting ready for the holidays. Running around with a million things to do during a “break” is not ideal.

Make a plan

Make a plan, and write it out. What are you doing each day and how long will it take? And remember, just because there is free space in your calendar doesn’t mean it needs to be filled. Plan so that you have ample time for what you want to do over the holidays.

Take time for yourself

Don’t book your schedule to the brim. After all, this is a break. Make sure to plan in some time for yourself and time to be able to catch up on something you didn’t have time for before. It’s okay to stay home some days, and during this time of the year, it is probably essential.

Move your body

Exercise, get out into nature, whatever you need to do to move your body. This will help take your mind away from all that’s going on and allow you to relieve some of the stress you’ve been building up sub-consciously.

Make a holiday bucket list

This is a time for you to do what you usually wouldn’t have had time for. Make a list of things you want to do or places you want to visit over your time off. But remember, if you add too much, this can quickly turn into another stressor. So have fun with it, but keep realistic expectations.

Spend time with loved ones

Although this can be the root of stress during the holidays, it is important to spend at least some time with your family and friends, especially since many can be busy throughout the year. Take the holidays as an opportunity to see them, as spending time with those you love is a great way to enjoy yourself during this stressful and chaotic time.

Set boundaries

Don’t overextend yourself, and set boundaries. Remember that you are only human, and it’s okay to ask for help. A key factor in this is not being afraid to say no. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself, let alone with something you don’t want to do. Saying no is hard, but it is very important in avoiding unnecessary stress.

Do what you want

Remember, this is a break and a time for you to do you. Just because one’s ideal holiday is seeing a million people and going to a ton of events doesn’t mean it’s yours too. If you want to stay in, then stay in. 

The most important thing to do during the holidays is to have fun. Plan out some seasonal activities to do with others or alone, such as baking, seeing a play, going out to dinner with friends. If you begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed, think of the memories and good times that await you.