Holiday stress is a very real thing and one that is particularly present the week before Christmas! Here are tips for managing mental healthy holidays with a free downloadable checklist.
This post is sponsored by BCBS of Arizona who is committed to helping you have happy and healthy holidays!
We are down to just days until Christmas, and just over a week until New Year’s, and it seems to be a time of year people start to feel really overwhelmed. Holiday stress is a very real thing! There’s a lot to worry about!
Holiday gatherings and parties are plentiful, and they often require planning and time.
Social gatherings can mean facing people and places that cause a lot of stress and overwhelm.
Holiday gifts are often still being acquired, wrapped, and making lists and checking them twice take time and a lot of mental effort.
Traditions often make people feel overwhelmed with a need to check every box and prepare every needful thing.
Budgets are often being stretched, and financial concern and strain are very real at this of year!
In the concern that I just caused blood pressure to raise at the aforementioned list, I want to remind you to take a deep breath. Let it in slowly, let it out slowly. And most of all, please take a minute to acknowledge your mental health. It’s a REALLY important thing, and it’s worth taking care of!
Mentally Healthy Holidays
Let’s get back to making this the most wonderful time of the year, and manage holiday stress and anxiety in a way that makes sense for you.
How you feel emotionally can affect your mind and your body. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your mental health this holiday season.
For anyone in the thick of the holiday stress, I wanted to give you a resource to reference when you’re feeling overwhelmed and ready to curl up in a ball or hide in a pantry. Because guess what, you don’t have to do it all! That’s right, I’m giving you permission to let things go, give yourself a break, and find some more joy and less stress this holiday season!
Mental Healthy Holidays Checklist
- Will I regret missing this in a month? In a year? If not, it’s okay to ax it!
- Will I enjoy at least half of the event? If the answer is no, let the 50/50 rule guide your choice.
- Do the people at this gathering make me feel happy?
It’s okay to avoid Aunt Marva who endlessly asks why you’re single and makes you feel terrible. Think through the people at the event and decide if it’s going to be better for you mentally to be present or to avoid it.
- Are there triggers that create uncomfortable or negative feelings?
If a turkey roast reminds you of losing a loved one who used to cook the perfect turkey, it may be best to skip an event. If an exes’ brother owns the venue a party is at, you can definitely bow out! Take care of that emotional trigger by finding happier events and traditions to participate in.
- Will this event or tradition help impact your mood for the better?
It’s okay to love Christmas shopping, and it’s also okay to give a gift card and be fine with it. Taking time to be with loved ones and practice traditions can be worth some stress. But if it’s going to leave everyone overwhelmed and upset, it’s fine to avoid or simply it too.
- Will freeing time free up some mental clarity too?
If you need to schedule a downtime evening, do it! There’s no harm in intentionally clearly some time to create some emotional clarity too!
- Is there a shortcut?
How often do we spend way too much time doing one thing that stresses us out? I’m looking at you holiday baking! Guess what, it’s okay to use a box mix, a bakery, or pick up something at the grocery store.
If there’s a shortcut, take it!
- Can I outsource or hire this out?
There are catering services to make your party amazing. It’s an easy hire to get cleaners to come to your home! The entire PTO would likely love to help set up the holiday bake sale signs. And I bet your teenage neighbor would love to be hired to wrap your presents.
If it’s stressing you out and you have a friend, family member, or some cash to bail you out, don’t be afraid to ask!
- Will anyone notice this thing I’m stressing about?
How often do we stress cleaning the baseboards before a gathering? Guess what, NO ONE NOTICES! I could also mention other items: neighbor or coworker treats, holiday cards, if you’re wearing a new dress for the party. etc. These are items that can take a lot of time and money and cause a lot of stress.
Chances are, no one is going to notice the deep clean or that you took a year off from sending cards.
- Did I get enough sleep to face a big event of a stressful situation?
If not, it’s time to block out some time to catch up on sleep. It does wonders to help manage stress! Plus how often do we get sick this time of year because we don’t sleep?
- Am I fitting in physical activity?
During the cold winter months, this can be tricky. But ask yourself honestly if you’re taking care of your mental health by taking care of your physical health. Try at-home workouts, walking instead of driving if possible, or hitting the gym instead of taking on another holiday to-do item.
- Did I remember to eat?
Sometimes you get too busy to even fuel yourself. Set a timer if you need to! Remember to eat balanced meals and take care of your body physically.
- Am I having a healthy relationship with food?
There are often two extremes that involve feeling guilty for letting yourself enjoy some holiday treats, or being in too many situations where you don’t seem to have the option to make healthy choices to fuel your body. It’s about balance and finding a healthy relationship! I’m all for enjoying some indulgences! I’m also a big advocate for making sure we eat some healthy meals at home with lots of produce to keep us feeling our best.
Want a copy of the list you can download and reference on your phone, or print and hang somewhere you can easily reference? Grab it here!
And may you find a little more peace and joy in the middle the holiday stress!
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