The winter holidays are one of the busiest times of the year. There are so many activities and events, it’s easy to get fatigued, not just physically but emotionally. Here’s a reminder to take care of yourself and your family so you can actually enjoy the spirit of the holidays.
Add Light to Your Home
As the days get darker in the winter, you should add more light to your day. Candlelight can increase the ambience of your home in the evening and provide a calming atmosphere. When the sun is shining, go for a walk to take in the sun’s rays. Bundle up and just enjoy your time outside without worrying about the number of steps you’re taking. Find natural lighting for your office and living room that will help you get through the winter months.
It’s okay to say “no.” You don’t have to go to every activity in the community in order to be a part of things. Know your priorities during the holidays. What is most important to you and your family? Have a ready answer for when people ask you to do something that isn’t on that list. Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. You don’t need to explain why you don’t want to or can’t go caroling at the nursing home.
Lower Your Expectations
Your Christmas experience doesn’t have to reflect a Hallmark movie. Give yourself permission to buy a dessert for your work party instead of making a perfect bûche de noel with handmade marzipan mushrooms. Do your holiday decorations need to be precisely placed around the tree? Understand that you can’t make everyone happy. Focus on the things that are most important to you.
Overlook the Small Things
People aren’t perfect. Sometimes, you just have to extend grace when someone cuts you off on the highway instead of getting mad. Overlook Aunt Sally’s outburst at the dinner table when the rolls aren’t like the ones that grandma made. Be kind when someone tells you “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Give your friend a break for forgetting that you don’t drink wine when he brings a bottle of Chianti to your holiday party. It’s a busy season and no one gets everything right all the time.
Ask for Help if You Need It
Often, the holiday season intensifies pain deep within us. When you watch others who appear to have the Hallmark movie experience, it can exacerbate the pain that lies right beneath the surface and cause you to ache more deeply. If you’re experiencing depression, it’s okay to get help. Find a therapist who can help you heal. Get with friends who understand your pain and will comfort you. Don’t feel as if you have to be happy and cheerful all the time.
Take Time to Enjoy the Spirit of the Season
Spend an evening with your family driving around to see the lights. Go to a Christmas concert or play where you can sit in the audience to take in the production. Go to a party where you can be a guest instead of hosting a party where you have to take care of everything. Do something that gives you joy. Create memories with your kids by making snow angels or baking cookies together.
Take Care of Yourself
It can feel selfish to take care of yourself, especially during the holidays when everyone seems to want a piece of you. Protect the time you need for sleep and exercise. Remember to eat healthy. You’ll be faced with many indulgences during the holidays. Set boundaries on your eating and drinking to take care of yourself. Scale back on internet time to give yourself more time with family and friends.
The holiday season will be over quickly. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself now.