Woman in Bed With Her CatThe holidays are a wonderful season for many people. It's a time to spend with friends and family, and there may be cherished rituals that you look forward to all year. Of course, you can't forget about the food! There's probably at least one person who can't wait to indulge in that special treat you make.

The season can also bring a lot of stress. Presents and travel may stretch your budget to the limit, and extra helpings of rich food may do the same to your waistband. If you add strained relations or a full schedule to these practical challenges, it's no wonder that many people experience higher levels of depression and anxiety during the holidays. To combat negative impacts that threaten to steal your seasonal joy, here are some self-care tips for the upcoming months.

Take Care of Your Body

The way your body feels has a direct effect on your mood and mental state. It logically follows that maintaining the healthy habits you have the rest of the year during the holidays can help minimize emotional struggles. While few experts would recommend that you deprive yourself of your favorite indulgences, most advise that you partake in moderation and supplement with foods that are rich in the nutrition you need to function well. A good diet is just one of the habits you need to feel your best during the holidays. Also consider:

  • Taking regular walks or other forms of exercise
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting sufficient sleep
  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine

Don't Be Afraid To Say No

Opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others abound in the months before the new year begins. Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, you are likely to be bombarded with requests to volunteer, attend special services or organize donation drives. If nothing else, the party invitations alone can fill up your calendar in a hurry if you let them.

The faster pace of the holidays is a rush to some people, but others find it daunting. If you fall in the latter category, you don't have to be resigned to viewing the season as something you just have to get through. By being particular about how you and your family spend your time, you can still have meaningful experiences without becoming overwhelmed. Remember that it's not just okay to say no to most of the opportunities you are offered; it may just be your saving grace.

Organize Your Schedule and Budget

Once you do know the tasks and events you want to prioritize, do yourself the favor of starting early. Make a checklist of things to accomplish, and give yourself plenty of time to do them. Then put everything on the calendar, including not only events but also deadlines for any preparation work you need to do to get ready for them.

During the early phases of planning, go ahead and set a holiday budget. Take into account ongoing expenses to see how much extra funding you expect to have. Then set limits for donations, presents, travel and other expenses, trying not to go over 80% of your excess. This gives you a small cushion just in case something unexpected comes up and allows you to enjoy your holidays without worrying about money.

Put Aside Time To Decompress

No matter how prepared you are, the holiday season may still be stressful. It's important to find a way to relieve that burden. Make an extra appointment with your therapist or a coffee date with a trusted confidante. Schedule a quiet spa day the day after a big family gathering. Find whatever you need to center yourself and make it a priority.

The holidays can be both wonderful and harrowing. Good self-care can help to ensure the balance stays on the positive side.

Category: Health and Wellness

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