The time to be jolly is also the time to be in a rush, pressed for time, often stressing over which dish to serve, which gifts to get, and which cards to send. Holiday stress is a very real issue so many people struggle with – especially those who have preexisting mental health issues, and even the most emotionally stable people among us cannot be immune to it.
During Christmas in particular, stressful situations tend to pile up as if they’re completely out of control. In such instances, it’s difficult to keep your zen and move through your days actually enjoying the celebrations. Now that another Christmas is behind us, let’s recap on what we can do to better equip ourselves for next year, to hopefully greet this holiday with a more serene mindset.
Schedule some alone time
Christmas is typically the time of year we surround ourselves with the people we love. It just so happens that many of those people also tend to annoy us, stir up conflict, or start asking frustrating questions that go beyond what you’re comfortable with. That is why setting aside a few hours here and there to spend on your own is vital.
Now, that doesn’t refer to the time you spend running errands, picking out gifts, or vacuuming. Alone time during Christmas should be about you, doing something you crave, be it reading, taking an extra long shower, taking a walk, or just watching a movie. In fact, why not make alone time a 2023 resolution to help yourself unwind whenever things become tough?
How about a gift for yourself?
Your first priority during Christmas is to make others happy, starting with perfect presents. First of all, it’s unrealistic to expect that we can nail the ideal gift every single year without people directly telling us what they want. So, as you spend hours of your time searching for and picking up gifts for everyone else – take a moment to think about what you want and need.
Not sure what exactly you’d like? You can pick up one of our gift certificates and then decide later on, on your own terms, what you’d like to spend it on, be it some healthy supplements to boost your immune system, a workshop to learn something new, or anything in between.
Saying no is fine
Setting boundaries is too often secretly frowned upon in the context of Christmas – somehow, everything is subdued in favor of politeness. We tend to say yes to the second plate of food when we’re full, or agree to go to an even just because it’s Christmas and you don’t want to disappoint people around you.
While it may take some getting used to, saying no and setting polite, but clear boundaries is a good practice, especially for Christmas. Consider saying no one of the healthiest habits you can build in life.
It will help you speak your mind when given a choice to accept or decline something, which should never be an excuse for someone to be offended. Mind you, some people will always find an excuse to be offended, but that is not within your mental jurisdiction, so to speak. You should be kind to yourself.
Write it all down
Even when you do say no, sometimes you’ll find yourself in the middle of conversations you never meant to start. And even more importantly, in the middle of discussions where you cannot state exactly what you mean, because it might turn into a heated argument instead. So as you choose to stand your ground as you navigate the unpleasant conversation, you can look forward to writing all the colorful thoughts down in your journal later on.
Letting yourself process your emotions and trains of thought will serve as a safe, kind, polite way to avoid unpleasant discussions during Christmas. We all have that uncle Bob or aunt Janice that just loves to meddle. You can smile their questions away and still refuse the fifth slice of cake despite their insistence, but you can later use your journal as a safe space to express yourself fully. It’s cathartic and it helps you manage your emotions better in the future!
Set new family customs
We’re all eager to prepare that beloved roasted turkey recipe with sweet potatoes, crafted and refined over the years by a family member we want to honor come Christmas. So, we often feel guilty for wanting to change things a bit, if we have a new guest joining us, especially if they’re vegan or vegetarian. Then again, maybe every year, you’re the one gathering all the family members, and it’s becoming too much.
Whatever the family custom may be – you can and you are allowed to change it and introduce new traditions. Ask someone else to host the Christmas dinner if you’re swamped or tired. Change up the recipes if you’re eager to try out something new. Life is too short to constantly try and live up to someone else’s random expectations. Set your own, change them, enjoy exceeding or not meeting them, and once again, be kind to yourself.
Changing ourselves is more difficult and challenging than changing so many other external factors that affect our lives. That’s why it’s perhaps the most noble goal you can set for yourself this year, for Christmas no less, to welcome every upcoming holiday with the idea to overcome your own self-imposed limitations.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you get there more quickly and easily, but we also know that you can always find other, equally creative ways to fuel your self-growth and find new opportunities to defeat stress and get jolly instead. And even if you don’t, the trick is to accept that it’s fine not to be all that jolly during Christmas – it’s fine to be exactly what you are.