Spending time with friends and family over the holidays is one of the nations most loved pastimes; however, for many people it can also be a season of mixed emotions that makes them feel anxious, stressed and worried. Not everybody has special fun memories that they want to reminisce over, and often, being in a family situation can trigger the childhood patterns that you thought you had put to bed.
To help you gain positives from this holiday season, here are 3 tips to survive the holiday season.
1. Have realistic expectations
The holiday season is always portrayed in the media as being perfect, and no social media feed provides you with the true picture of other people’s holiday. The reality is often very different. No family is perfect, and so try not to build great expectations of the celebrations into something that they are not likely to meet.
There’s a fine line between being optimistic and unrealistically hopeful. The chances are high that if Grandma always slates your career choice, she will again in the holidays. You may hope that she’ll stop discouraging you from pursuing your dreams, but realistically, she will dampen your spirits with negativity.
It’s how you react to the individual and situation that controls the impact that they have on your sense of wellbeing. Exposure to negativity can really dampen your spirits, so it’s important that your interactions with negative people are limited; you can’t avoid them completely!
The Gray Rock Method is a way of dealing with people with who you have a toxic or negative relationship. In short, it means that you don’t add fuel to their fire: respond to them without emotion with a simple and polite response. It takes practice, but once the person doesn’t succeed in baiting an emotional response from you, their attention will go elsewhere.
It can be easy to get caught up in the holiday excitement and make decisions that you may regret later once the festivities are over. If you leave everything until the last minute, you are more than likely to make bad decisions. Prepare for the holidays; this way, you keep in control of what you are going to do, and you won’t feel bullied into going somewhere or seeing someone you don’t want to. Things to prepare:
- The diary
Know exactly where you are going to be and when. Again, be realistic about what you agree to do. Yes, it is the season of spending times with loved ones but show some self-love and give yourself some time off to rejuvenate and relax. Having an organized diary also means that should you receive an invite to somewhere you are not keen to go to, you can always say that you have previous plans.
- The food
If you are catering for an army of friends and family, prepare as much of it as you can in advance; your freezer is your holiday season friend. You want to be able to relax without spending all day in the kitchen. Create a schedule that details the timings of when dishes need to go in the over so that you know exactly what to do and when.
- The gifts
Yes, you will want to give loved ones gifts, but if you leave buying them until the last minute, you are more than likely going to panic buy. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Post-holiday debt will impact your future financial stability, but if you do find that you have overspent, be proactive about clearing it as soon as you can. You can take out a loan to pay your debts and make manageable monthly installments instead, Bonsai Finance provides finance for this situation.
3. Be moderate
The holiday season is not usually a period of moderation; however, excessive indulgence can seriously impact your physical and mental health. Overeating, drinking too much alcohol on top of a reduced sleep can make the side effects of the celebrations linger.
While it can be good fun to have a drink with friends and family, it can be the cause of arguments and misunderstandings. Moderate your drinking. You don’t have to abstain, just drink responsibly. Alternate between alcoholic drinks and sodas so that your consumption is halved. Alcohol and depression go hand in hand, and if you must face friends and family with a hangover, you often feel more vulnerable and anxious.
Remember to drink plenty of water to help your body process the toxins that your body has ingested. Your vital organs depend on it to function, and it can be easy to forget to drink enough.
Holiday meals tend to be richer than everyday foods and eating too many calories can easily be done. Take time over your meal to properly chew your food – it takes 20 minutes for your brain to understand that your stomach is full! By having a more leisurely meal, you will eat the amount of food that is needed, and not feed to excess.
Late nights and early starts can impact you both physically and emotionally, especially when combined with the excess of food and alcohol. Lack of sleep can affect your mood by making you more emotional and more likely to lose your temper, which can heighten feelings of anxiety and depression. A weakened immune system is one side effect of a lack of sleep, so you are more likely to catch colds and viruses as a result. Take extra vitamin supplements to keep your defenses up.
Holiday season can be a great time to spend with family, friends and loved ones, but often it is marred by family politics and relationships. Take time to step out and take a breather. You don’t have to engage fully with people who pull you down, you don’t have to explain why you are not having another glass of wine, enjoy the celebrations under your own terms and live for today.