- Watch what you watch!
- Step outside
- Communicate through conflict
- Set boundaries
- Cap the wine and cookie consumption
- Move your body
- Focus on what you can control
The holiday season is here, and for the most part, that means decorating Christmas trees, holiday parties, gingerbread and cinnamon, stuffed stockings, and lots of family time. The backdrop is a wintry fairytale, and the air is always filled with carols… except for when it’s not.
Christmas time can be stressful– meeting opinionated family members after months away, planning large Christmas dinners, balancing tightly packed schedules, budgeting for shopping and travel, all the cleaning, and most importantly, the looming fear of COVID, in place of carols.
While the causes of stress can be varied, they tend to work together to have one singular effect - bring down the holiday cheer. 😞
So how can you help save Christmas for yourself and your family? By maintaining your balance and peace. Understanding your stress, and acknowledging it is the first step. It is important to allow yourself to feel exhausted or dejected over the holidays. What you or your children feel might not align with how the people around you feel, but that doesn’t make your experience any less valid. What’s important is addressing the problem and actively working towards solving it.
So here are 8 tips on how you can win your peace and happiness back this Christmas:
1. Watch what you watch!
Media is a double-edged sword, with one edge far sharper than the other. Bleak news full of doom and gloom, peer pressure, unrealistic personal and familial expectations, etc., are all propagated on the internet.
It is important to filter out your content and only consume what helps you feel better one way or the other. When it gets too overwhelming, you can always just get off the internet. Your phone comes with an off button; use it. 📴
2. Step outside
Now that your phone is out of the equation, you can use your time and energy towards exploring the winter miracle that is Christmas, i.e., spending time outdoors. ⛷ We know it isn’t exactly camping season, but the occasional whiff of fresh air can do wonders for you. Visiting the store every once in a while, going for long walks, meeting friends and family, etc., are great outdoor activities.
3. Communicate through conflict
Conflict is an inevitable part of family life. When many people live together, they are bound to argue and disagree over things, no matter how similar they are. Empathising and communicating positively with your family can help you reach peaceful resolutions. It is always better to listen, comprehend and respond to your family instead of stoking conflicts further.
4. Set boundaries
A major part of effective communication is setting personal boundaries. Some things that your family members do might feel triggering. It is better to inform your family about your feelings about these things instead of keeping quiet about them.
5. Cap the wine and cookie consumption
The holidays are a time to celebrate the good things in life– mince pies, mulled wine, and hot chocolate. While it may feel good momentarily, excess sugar and long-term alcohol use can compound the effects of stress and alter your natural hormone responses, blood sugar, and insulin levels. This, combined with the lack of sleep induced by excess caffeine and alcohol, is the perfect storm for anxiety. Exercise, meditation, and yoga are healthier methods of stress relief that provide both short and long-term benefits.
6. Move your body
Even though winters are cold and warm sugar cookies by the fire beckon, exercise is essential. Put on some extra layers and go on that run or to the gym. Movement gives your body a way to process and release stress hormones. The adrenaline of being active will make you feel a lot better and reduce the holiday stress. Physical activity also helps you get better sleep which is very important in reducing anxiety and maintaining good mental health.
7. Focus on what you can control
Now that you’re taking care of your physical self, it is time to look inside. A great way to deal with stress and anxiety is to establish control over things. There are only two things you can control– your thoughts and your actions.
When you choose to let go of what you can’t control, the stress in your life will exponentially reduce.
8. Protect your downtime
Finally, taking care of yourself is as important as anything else. Self-care is a conscious activity that you need to do in your own time. While spending time with your family over the holidays is important, you should also make time for yourself. It can be something as expansive as a couple of days out in a cabin by yourself or as small as enjoying a hot bubble bath in the middle of the day. The goal is to take care of yourself and allow yourself to unwind.
Safeguarding your peace and sanity over the holidays is a necessity. Stress and anxiety are warranted human emotions that can be managed with patience and empathy. This Christmas, put yourself and your family above everything else. Watching out for yourself and your kids is the best Christmas present you could give them. We, at GoStudent, hope you have a wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year!