Entering the holidays without that holiday spirit? It’s ok. It’s normal to feel anxious, overwhelmed or depressed when the expectations of the holidays near. For many of us, this time can be filled with a lot of FOMO, awkward conversations with families, financial stress, worries about food and alcohol intake, travel and social anxiety — all the feels. We’re in your corner. Here are some tips for navigating the holidays.
Hit the Locker Room
Often the holidays means sharing physical space with faces old and new. This can feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re used to spending time secluded in the office behind a computer, and if you experience social anxiety. Never hesitate to excuse yourself and recharge alone or with a trusted person. Identify a space that you can retreat to, or schedule a walk or drive that can help you feel grounded.
Pass the Ball
Sometimes we take too much burden on ourselves for planning or executing events. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from guests, or snag a co-host who can help with logistics. Also, feel the freedom to dial back the big festivities for something simple. All that matters is a sense of safety and security – the rest is just extra.
For some, the holidays become so much about “we” that the “me” gets lost in the shuffle. You don’t have to please everyone, or say yes to everything that’s offered. Hold your ground by firmly saying no when you need to. Your boundaries are your sanctuary, and they don’t have to disappear just because the extended family is in town for the next few days.
Don’t Keep Score
Social media usage ramps up during the holidays, so it’s even easier to compare and judge yourself to others. Be mindful of your time on social media. Watch closely how all the updates from your friends and family make you feel, and give yourself the space from any source of shame, jealousy, or insecurity. There’s no reason to allow another’s holiday to dim the shine of your own.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practicing might not stop the awkward questions from popping up at the dinner table, but it may help you feel more grounded when they come your way. Reflect on some sources of tension between you and your community, and prepare some responses that you feel most comfortable with. And remember: you don’t owe anyone an explanation for who you are, or the life you choose to lead.
Keep your Team Close
It’s reasonable to feel isolated and alone during the holidays, especially if you’re not spending it with the community you’d choose. Know that you’re not alone, even if it feels that way, and you’ve got a team cheering you on from afar. Before you check out, check in with your friends and create a group text where you can stay close from afar. Let them know how you’re doing, and allow space for them to do the same.
It's admirable to acknowledge your feelings around the holiday and honor your self with what you need. We’re rooting for you! Tell us – how do you practice self-care during the holiday season?
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mental Health League. This content is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you need help, text HOME to 741 741 for 24/7, 365 support from the Crisis Text Line. Please follow our Community Guidelines when commenting below.