Christmas is a really tough time for many of us. Holidays remind us of loved ones lost, financial struggles, and family drama. Christmas can cause financial stress and interpersonal strife too. Then there are the expectations. Expectations that others may have of us, and expectations that we put on ourselves. Christmas just makes everything a little bit more “extra”.
Being intentionally kind to yourself this holiday season will go a long way toward helping you maintain your mental and physical health while dealing with the extra stressors that Christmas brings. Here are 3 ways to be kind to yourself this Christmas.
Understand and Manage Expectations
It’s totally normal for there to be increased expectations at Christmas time. The first step is to accept this. All people have increased stress and commitments this time of year. You aren’t alone, and those who appear to be handling life better than you, might not actually be. Don’t stress about the fact that you’re stressed. Accept that December is a busy time and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
As far as managing expectations, give yourself permission to be less than perfect. You may not be able to decorate 12 dozen cookies this year – that’s OK. You might not find the perfect gift for your mother-in-law – that’s OK too. Being kind to yourself involves not expecting perfection from yourself.
Schedule Time for Self Care
The winter holidays are BUSY. Places to go, people to see, gifts to buy, parties to host, etc. You may take a look at your calendar and be completely strangled by the amount of THINGS you have going on. The best way to deal with this business is to add intentional blocks of time to your schedule that are just for you. Schedule a hair cut or a manicure. Block off a Sunday afternoon to snuggle up on the couch with your family and watch movies. Determine what feels like self care to you, and put that in your calendar – multiple times this month.
You won’t be able to say “yes” to every invitation and request this year. Let others know what to expect from you in advance so that you aren’t worried about disappointing anyone. Your family and friends will understand, and likely appreciate the boundaries that you set. If you don’t want to make cookies for the cookie exchange, tell the host now that you won’t be able to participate. If you are worried about affording gifts for everyone on your list, talk to your family and set price limits so that you can stay within your budget. These things don’t seem like much, but they will save you from worry, guilt, and regret this Christmas.
I hope that you will find pockets of calm and peace this holiday season. Being intentionally kind to yourself will definitely help you with that. Give yourself the gift of self care this Christmas.
Leave a comment! Tell me what is your favorite way to reduce stress at Christmas time?