We all know that the holidays can create more stress than “peace on earth.” So if you find yourself gravitating toward your bed in the hopes of pulling the covers over your head and not getting up until the second week of January, then consider these suggestions for surviving and enjoying the holiday season from Dr. Ellen Costello, Director of the Women's Partial Program at Butler Hospital.
- Accept your limitations. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Delegate or dump tasks altogether. Practice saying “no.”
- Pace yourself and prioritize. Develop a plan. Make a to-do list, set deadlines and write them on your calendar. This will end the last minute frenzy.
- Keep it simple. Improvise. Think potluck, take out, or inviting people for the day after the holidays to feast on leftovers.
- Accept a little help from your friends. This is no time to go it alone or to try to control all aspects of everything.
- Don't coast on empty. Make time for some activities that nourish you. Keep up with your exercise routine; sleep; take some down time for you.
- Do things that give meaning to the holidays. Volunteer, engage in spiritual activities, and spend time enjoying the company of family and friends.
- Savor life's little pleasures. Count your blessings. Express caring and gratitude to yourself and others.
- Give the gift of yourself. Have a close friend or family member choose one activity that makes the holiday especially fun or meaningful for them, and do it with that person.
- Accept change. If you've suffered a loss during the year, consider changing your routine and doing something different.
- Be your own cheerleader. Breathe, laugh, watch a funny movie, and remind yourself that you can do it. You have successfully survived many holiday seasons. And you will survive this one, too.
If you are concerned that what you’re feeling may be more than just a result of holiday stress, talk with your doctor about other ways to reduce stress or depression. You can also take our free, confidential mental health screening.