Don't over commit
Our year-round lives are already filled with work, friends and family. We are already stressed before November even arrives. Trying to wedge in parties and other functions can fill every evening and weekend. Be sure to set aside time to enjoy every aspect of this busy season. Don’t be so pressed for time that things feel like dreaded chores rather than fun and exciting. Slow down so you can catch seasonal movies, savor a cup of hot cider and don’t miss the beauty of the season.
Don’t abandon healthy habits
It is important in stressful times to be sure to attend to self-care. Take a breather, prioritize workouts, and be sure to try to maintain your sleep patterns as much as possible. Don’t binge on food. Despite the trays of treats and big party buffets, we don’t need to stuff ourselves with a diet of pure rich, calorie laden foods for 6 weeks. If you have a passion for turkey and dressing, fine. Perhaps you can skip those side dishes that are year-round mainstays so you can focus on your annual favorites. Balance out those holiday treats with some healthier options.
Focus on what matters
Acknowledge those we care about whether they are near or far, take time to do the things that are meaningful for your traditions. Avoid family conflict – set aside differences and don’t open old wounds.
Keep expectations realistic
How many times do we set ourselves up for failure by expecting perfection, trying to do too much, comparing ourselves to others or some ridiculous ideal? Remember to maintain boundaries as to what you are able and willing to do - learn to say “no”. Plan ahead, set a budget and stick to it.
Reach out if you are struggling with emotions
Get help from your support system and seek professional help if you need it. There is no shame in having depressed feelings this time of year. Whether it is related to seasonal affective disorder or a sense of loss or grief related to changes in our lives, you don’t have to suffer alone. Don’t tell yourself you should feel a certain way or should be doing something else. Acknowledge your real feelings legitimate and get some help.