It can be hard to really focus this time of year. Everything’s bustling and busy, schedules are overrun with engagements we just can’t miss. To say the holidays are stressful feels like the understatement of the century. It’s not that the events aren’t fun, it’s just that there is just so much happening.
All the shopping, the planning, the entertaining, the baking, the visiting, the grocery shopping, the meal planning, the cooking, the errands, the decorating, the tidying. . . It feels like it’s the season of excessive people-ing, doing, eating, and spending. It feels like that ride at my local spring fair that made me dizzy for hours, wondering if I was going to barf.
It makes me tired just thinking about it all, and then, at the very same time, it makes me sad that I’m not feeling able to actually enjoy what I put so much effort into. Who are we doing all this work for? In my case, my kids. I do everything in my life for my kids. I love the magic of this time of year, and for us, Christmas is a really special time together.
But what happens when you just. . . don’t wanna? What happens when you lose sight of the real spirit of the season and want to check out? For me, that’s not an option, but it’s a definite sign I need to focus more on my self-care before I’m totally overwhelmed.
This year I did something that was monumental for me. I reached out to my doctor to officially get a handle on my ongoing anxiety issues. I have struggled for years with general anxiety and in recent months I finally admitted I wasn’t able to cope alone. I’m entering this holiday season a little medicated, a little raw, and a whole lot protective of myself.
In past years, I’ve run myself ragged pleasing everyone, but I just don’t have it in me this year. I’ve quietly decorated the house and finished the shopping. I’ve wrapped the gifts, and planned the meals. But there isn’t the same heart in it, and I don’t want that to affect my family at all.
So here’s how I’m getting through this season, and I thought maybe some of you out there could use these tips, too.
TAKE PLEASURE IN ROUTINE
Every morning, I get up and make my bed. It serves two purposes: 1. I love getting into a made bed at night, and 2. It starts my day with a satisfying accomplishment. In a season so full of craziness (that throws my introverted self into panic attacks regularly), I enjoy routine very much. I even try to keep my kids on their routines so sleep isn’t lost and tempers stay cool while they’re off school.
It’s ok to decline invitations. It’s ok to need time alone. We take such pride in being busy, forgetting we need downtime. Set your boundaries and stick to the plan.
It’s so easy to survive on junk food during the holidays. There are little candy bowls and baked goods everywhere. I could easily survive on the baking I’ve done, but it makes me feel ill. Every day, be conscious of eating well, and your body will thank you for it come January.
It can be overwhelming to see what everyone on social media is doing, I know. (We don’t have an Elf on the Shelf, am I a bad mom? We didn’t visit a Christmas tree farm. We don’t have family photos. We didn’t spend that much, we didn’t do that, we aren’t over there, blah blah blah.) Don’t subject yourself to that kind of comparison. Take a tech break, and enjoy time truly spent with loved ones. Play a board game, read a real book.
GET FRESH AIR
I hate winter, I really do. I’m cold from October through May, and loathe being outside. But I also know it’s important for me to get fresh air and exercise daily, because it completely changes my mood. Even 15 minutes around the block can refresh you. Get out there and enjoy the beauty to be found in winter.
Give of your time, your resources, your talents, or your money. Just give. Be generous with compassion and empathy, pay for a coffee for someone, or just be the shoulder someone needs. Giving of myself is fulfilling, and reminds me that we’re all a part of this life together.
Each day, aloud, I list off things I’m grateful for, to myself. Being consciously grateful gives me a sense of ease and joy. There are so many scary things happening in our world, it’s easy to lose sight of the blessings.
Wishing you all a happy, peaceful holiday season. <3