We are creeping up on the time of year many people find to be very the most stressful time of the year. From the stress of often being cooped up in the house, to awkward family interactions, to constant triggers, the list of stressors can be endless. Combine those stress factors with the reality that people seem to get physically sicker this time of year as well, and it can be overwhelming. During this time of year, it is especially helpful if you think about helpful strategies to help with the many challenges before that predictable family/work/friend gathering comes around.
Plan, plan, plan as much as you can! Take some time to think about possible triggers, and helpful ways to work around those triggers. If there are certain people whom you have difficulty interacting with, schedule extra time with your therapist, and role play healthy ways to navigate these tricky waters. If you know your time is limited during this time of year, and you get stressed when you have too many demands on your plate, take time now to block out times to schedule relaxation strategies! Whether it be taking a few extra minutes to meditate in the morning, going to bed extra early when possible, or scheduling a massage, self-care is always important, and during stressful times it is even more important! Preventative measures are key!
Be true to yourself!! If your schedule feels overwhelming, and someone asks you to volunteer when you know that may put you over the edge, be ok with saying “no.” You can politely decline invitations with no explanation. An example of this would be, “I can’t help this time around, but I’d love to help after the holidays.” Be true to yourself, and communicate with confidence.
Take care of your body by getting proper nutrition, rest and exercise. If you are able, plan your meals ahead of time so you get the proper vitamins and minerals your body is craving, and so you don’t stress eat unhealthy foods and drinks. Good stuff in= healthy immune system, and you’ll feel better. Garbage in= worn down immune system, and you’ll likely feel sluggish.
Take advantage of online services. From shopping online, to having groceries delivered to your home, there are many online services that may make your life more manageable at this time of year, and many offer “free 1st time use” coupons! Utilizing these strategies can help you balance the demands of this busy time of year, and keep you feeling more balanced, and less stressed.