Eight Tips for Holiday Endurance

Eight Tips for Holiday Endurance

This holiday season, think preparation and preservation for a happier you.

The holiday season is in full swing. Baking cookies, buying presents, mailing greeting cards, decking the halls and attending parties—it’s constant flurry of activity and motion. For some, the end of the year creates unwanted anxiety and stress and for others, the holidays produce feelings of loneliness and despair.

To survive this time of year, think preparation and preservation says Julie Kugler-Bentley, LCSW-C, CEAP, RN, of Meritus Health’s Behavioral Health. Follow these eight tips for a more sane you:

1.Lower your expectations. If dysfunction runs in your family, don’t set the expectation that your holiday will resemble a Currier and Ives picture. “The normal family doesn’t exist,” says Julie. Set the bar low and accept your relatives’ behaviors as something you cannot change.

2.Set a threshold for how much family face time you can tolerate. Stay in a hotel for extra breathing room or attend the holiday dinner and skip your aunt’s brunch. Is it OK to tell white lies? Yes, according to Julie. It’s fine to limit the holiday party to one hour because of another engagement—even if the engagement is a movie with your best friend.

3.Find your happy place. Look at what makes you happy during the holidays and carve out time to savor the season. Bake cookies, watch It’s a Wonderful Life or snuggle up next to the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. “Self-preservation is so important during the holidays,” says Julie.

4.Spread the love. Volunteer and help others in need during the holidays. How you treat others has a profound effect on self-esteem.

5.Get enough sleep. Skimping on sleep increases depression, ages your skin, makes you forgetful, boosts your appetite and may cause many more long-term health effects.

6.Watch how much alcohol you drink. Consuming too much alcohol can increase feelings of stress and depression. Drinking also packs on the pounds.

7.Gather your support team early. If you know December generates the blues for you, schedule a counseling session or ask a friend to be “on call” during the holidays in case you need support.

8. Think Charlie Brown and Linus. Do you hate the holidays because the season starts after Halloween? Does the over-commercialization, buy-your-spouse-a-Lexis wear you down? Remember, the true meaning of the holiday season is about reconnecting with family, friends and remembering the spirit of the season.