The halls are decked, the mistletoe hung, and the stockings placed by the chimney with care -- it's officially the holidays, and as the song goes, 'tis the season to be jolly." But what if you're already feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or anxious before the holiday season has truly begun?
While the holidays can be an exciting time of year, they're also emotionally and physically demanding. Between traveling, family get-togethers, shopping excursions, baking treats, and wrapping presents, it can start to feel more like a marathon than the most wonderful time of the year. It's also worth mentioning that life doesn't stop because it's the holidays! We're not only juggling the festivities, but we are working, managing our to-do lists, and somehow trying to find time for ourselves to decompress. It feels all too easy to put our needs on the backburner. You're not alone in thinking there aren't enough hours in the day to do all, plus the fact that the sun is setting at like 5:30 PM feels like icing on the cake.
You might be asking yourself, "what can I do about it!" It might be a good idea to add self-care to the top of that Christmas list for Jolly St. Nick.
You've probably heard about the concept of self-care already. If not, self-care is to consciously act in ways that promote your physical, mental, and emotional health. But self-care isn't one-size-fits-all. Self-care for one individual could be taking a long bath at the end of a hectic day. For someone else? It could be reassessing their amount of leisure time so they can sufficiently accomplish all that needs to be done! You may be thinking, "when do I even have time to do self-care? I have so much going on!" Well, when you're so busy that you can't even comprehend when you COULD take time for yourself, that's when you need it the most! Consider these forms of self-care that go beyond bubble baths, naps, and walks in nature to make this holiday season more about your needs so that you can finish out 2021 on a high note!
Spend What You Can
There's a lot of pressure during the holidays to spend spend spend. Between gifts, travel, decorations, grocery shopping, dining out... it can really add up and hurt your bank account! In a survey conducted by CreditCards.com, 41% of respondents said they were willing to incur debt this season. In addition, 60% of those who responded (who already had credit card debt) said they would be willing to add to their balances! Take a financial inventory and set budgets for yourself on what you can afford to spend on gifts and extracurriculars this month before you whip out the credit card. You can even set spending limits with your loved ones to keep your finances (and their expectations) in check. There's no fun in looking at your credit card statement in January with regret!
Add "No" To Your Vocabulary
Have you been invited to something you would much rather not attend? Whether it's grabbing drinks with a friend who's back in town for Christmas or your partner's work party, know it's okay to say no if you're not feeling up to it. Yes, you might hurt feelings, but there's no benefit in over-extending yourself to appease others! If you're feeling anxious at the thought of turning down an invitation, you can try saying, "I appreciate you inviting me, but I was looking forward to some time to myself to rest and recuperate. Thank you for thinking of me!"
Feel Your Feelings
While the holidays can be a joyous time for many, others may struggle with the lack of daylight, difficult family dynamics, or the hustle-bustle of the season. First, give yourself space and time to feel your feelings. Suppressing your emotions and putting on a brave face might sound like the best option, but ignoring those feelings won't make them disappear. Second, consider taking a social media detox until after the holidays are over. You can use the extra time you're not spending scrolling through Instagram or TikTok on yourself! If you want to work through your emotions in a healthy way, try journaling, reaching out to friends, talking to a mental health care professional, or joining a peer support group to help process what you're experiencing.
Hydrate And Eat Well
We know. Trust us; we know how many delicious treats are available right now. Between homemade cookies, truffles, pies, and cheesecakes, this time of year is unbelievably delicious. We're not saying avoid sweets and treats because we're not mean. We're just saying it's important to be mindful and make sure you're still eating well-balanced meals and consuming water along with Grandma's Apple Pie -- the one made with a recipe behind lock and key! On top of that, make sure you're getting enough vitamin D in your diet with the lack of daylight and outdoor activities! Vitamin D insufficiency affects 50% of the world population, and thanks to the lack of daylight hours and limited outdoor activities, it's a good idea to add vitamin D enriched foods into your diet or take a multivitamin.
Take Your Vacation Time
In 2018, American workers failed to use 768 million days of personal time off. To put that in perspective, that's 2.1 million YEARS of unused P.T.O. It’s important to remember that when you're hired for a job, you're exchanging your labor and expertise for benefits, like vacation and personal time off. Check in with your Human Resources department and see if you can extend your holiday break or roll any unused days into early 2022. One of the best forms of self-care is giving yourself time to rest, relax and recuperate! Already have vacation time scheduled this month? Make a promise to yourself not to check your work email or Slack notifications while you're out of the office. That “out of office” means out of office!
If you're struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, consider joining the Live Don't Just Exist - Work-Life Balance peer support group, led by I.C.F. Certified Coach Stephanie Fitzpatrick!
Do you find yourself missing out on important events? Do you have time for family and yourself? Ever feel like you're working more than not? Then you probably are not living, you are existing, and that is not what life should be about! What can you do about it, you ask? Well, maybe taking the time to create a healthy work-life balance will help. If you're ready to find the balance that's right for you, join Live Don't Just Exist - Work-Life Balance led by I.C.F. Certified Coach Stephanie Fitzpatrick for only $15/mo. Stephanie has worked with diverse individuals, groups, and organizations, including professional athletes, non-profit leaders, government employees, and others in her eight years of coaching experience and is ready to help you! This group is available on the MentalHappy platform and in the App Store and Google Play.