9 Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

You might be wondering the same thing that I am…How can it be that the holidays are almost here?  In fact, can you believe that we’re already in the final months of the year?

What this means, of course, is that many families will be gathering once again to celebrate their annual traditions of the season—and some will want to make up for lost time due to last year’s restrictions. It also means that our to-do lists just got longer!

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9 Ways to Keep Your Sanity During the Holidays

While most of us look forward to the holidays, if we’re not paying attention to our own needs, it’s easy to get stressed out and lose some of the seasonal joy we’ve been looking forward to. To diminish the chances of that happening, I have found that it’s really helpful to use some practical holiday coping strategies, like these:

  1. Make a plan and stay in a routine as much as possible. When we start adding too much to our plates, like spending more time shopping and getting together with friends, it can be easy to drop the ball and get behind on the normal things we need to do. So fit the extra stuff in where it works with your schedule, not the other way around.
  2. Make a budget and stick to it. We’ve all been there—spontaneously buying things because ‘tis the season for giving… but then paying a stressful price when the credit card bills start coming in. Do yourself a big favor right now and vow not to get in over your head with money.
  3. If you’re going to be spending time with family members, including some who can be difficult, it’s important to set boundaries and expectations with them ahead of time. For instance, it’s fine to let everyone know in advance that discussing contentious topics won’t be tolerated at your holiday dinner table. Also, if you get invited to a family event you don’t want to attend, it’s okay to graciously decline.
  4. Take time for yourself. All of us need a little peace and quiet when our schedules seem to be overflowing, so don’t feel guilty about some self-care. Schedule a massage, get your nails done, go for a drive and listen to music, or simply stay home and enjoy a nice long soak in your bathtub—but lock the door first so no one can bother you!
  5. Be sure to get some type of exercise in each day. Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your stress in check.
  6. Don’t skimp on sleep. When there’s more to accomplish, staying up later than usual might seem like the only way to get it all done. Unfortunately, this ends up backfiring because when you don’t get enough sleep, it can mess with your mood, make it harder to focus, and deplete the energy you want and need—especially during the holidays.
  7. Don’t toss your discipline out the window when it comes to food. Eating a healthy diet is so important for your mental and physical well-being—now and throughout the year. When you’re invited to a party, offer to bring some tasty and nutritious hors d’oeuvres like Cauliflower Tots or Almond Cream French Onion Dip and some fresh veggies.
  8. Ask for help when you need it. Many of us are used to doing a lot for others, but when your plate starts getting too full, you don’t have to take it all on. There’s no shame in asking your spouse/partner or your kids to pitch in and give you a hand.
  9. Don’t forget to breathe deeply. When you notice that you’re feeling tense, stop for a few minutes and do this simple breathing technique to calm your nerves and help you feel more grounded: Inhale to a count of 3 and hold for a second. Exhale to a count of 6 and hold for a second. Repeat this pattern 10 times.

The holiday season can be so much fun, and I have to say this year it feels a little more special. But please don’t make it harder than necessary on yourself because if you do, you might feel deprived of the festive enjoyment you deserve. I encourage you to use these tips so you can celebrate with your loved ones and stay in a positive state of mind.

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