The nights are getting longer, pumpkin-everything is in the grocery stores and the influencers are trying to outdo each other with holiday decorating where ever you scroll on social.
Before we enter party season, with its influx of invitations, late nights, family commitments and steady flow of wine, now is the perfect time to catch a breath and reset ahead of the festive period. Many of us will put pressure on ourselves as the holidays – whether that means sourcing the perfect presents, attending every event we can, dashing up and down the country to visit relatives or playing host. But by taking stock of your year so far in the coming weeks, and reflecting on what you might want to adjust, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday season.
And, making small but focused changes now could help lay the foundations for change in 2023, too. While January is the traditional time for reassessing your goals and making resolutions, it can sometimes feel like we’re setting ourselves up to fail when we attempt to give our lives a major overhaul at the start of the year. After weeks of over-indulging, we’re somehow supposed to ditch all our bad behaviour patterns and acquire plenty of healthy new ones overnight (all while managing to squeeze exercise into some of the shortest, coldest days of the year). But if you’ve put in the work beforehand, you’ll probably be well on the way to forming better habits anyway by the time January rolls around.
Ready for a pre-Christmas reset? Rather than simply survive, you can actually thrive during this time with grace and gratitude. Here are 7 tips to energetically assist you with having a conscious and stress-free holiday season:
THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT WHAT YOU VALUE – AND MAKE TIME FOR IT
Start by thinking about your four life domains:
WORK OUT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT FROM THE HOLIDAYS & SCHEDULE IT
No, I am not talking about crafting the perfect gift list. Spend some time considering what you want to get from your time off. Think about your Christmas values. You can’t do everything without burning out physically, emotionally [and] financially, so what is most important to you? Is it socialising with friends, family, or work [colleagues] or is it the idea of giving thoughtful gifts? Is it spending time alone or doing some charity work? Once you’ve worked that out, spend sometime with your calendar and schedule these preferred activities. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, connecting with friends and other activities.
The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children or other relatives can't come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or meet virtually on a video call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate.
PRACTICE GRACE AND SELF-CARE
Choosing to make yourself a priority is essential. Take time for yourself and honor your emotions. Practicing compassion and self-care are extremely important for our physical health and mental/emotional well-being. For example, if you told yourself that you weren't going to have any pie, but ended up having one - don't beat yourself up. That comes from a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset. When you have a growth mindset you are capable of learning and evolving with compassion. There are a million decisions like the pie decision in every day's that one pie slice does not derail all your efforts. Believe in yourself, allow for grace and move on.
CURB YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HABIT
We all know that comparison culture thrives on social media, and never more so than in the run-up to Christmas. Scrolling through Instagram, it can be hard not to wonder whether everyone else is having a better, more photogenic time than you. I'm not advocating a full pre-Christmas digital detox, but try to be more mindful when you’re looking at other people’s posts and maybe consider scaling back the time you spend online. Remind yourself every day that behind every ‘perfect’ social media post is usually a number of photos that represent the opposite of what you can see.
SET SOME BOUNDARIES
Yes, we know, boundaries and Christmas don’t usually tend to go hand in hand, but putting some expectations in place, whether that’s just personally or with friends and family, can help to take the stress out of the festivities (especially as many of us will be particularly budget conscious this year after months of rising bills). Part of this, of course, will mean having to say ‘no’ to some things, whether that’s turning down a party invitation or being realistic about the amount of work you can actually take on and complete before the holidays. Saying ‘no’ to things you don’t have the capacity for right now will allow you to be more present and available for the things you value the most.
DON'T ABANDON HEALTHY HABITS OR YOUR ROUTINES
Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:
Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning, defining your intentions and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy with mental stamina during the holidays.
If you are still struggling to find balance this holiday season, I invite you to join my virtual Style Your Health Circle talk 11/29/2022 at 12pm pst on Stress Less, Live Healthier. It is a FREE talk, where we will do a deep dive on stress, on when stress is good and when it is bad, symptoms to look out for when it becomes chronic and top tips to help reduce.
If you need one on one support, check out my Healthstyled program where I offer holistic, mind-body connection guidance creative strategy, support, tools and inspiration to co-create a plan with a national board certified Health and wellness coach and expert. Learn more.