Taking Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

Winter ForestWhile the holiday season can be quite joyous, it can also bring up a lot of stress and overwhelm – and for some, it can stir up feelings of pain or loneliness.

According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 110 million Americans take medication for stress-related causes each week. And when the holidays come along, people already predisposed to stress can find themselves feeling blue and more anxious than usual. Even those who don’t ordinarily feel stressed under the pressure of events or deadlines, still find that the holiday season can play havoc on day-to-day routines.

So what can we do?

“Plan for stress,” say the experts – just like you plan ahead for any calamity you want to avoid. The more prepared you are for the upcoming schedule, the more relaxed you’ll feel going into it.

During the holiday season, I always think of the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It seems to capture the “heaviness” that can come around this time of year, with a gentle reminder to really appreciate the smaller things in our lives. It requires a mindset shift – a change in our perspective.

The good news is – you don’t have to let stress ruin your holidays. You can begin this shift in perspective by pinpointing what you’re anxious about.

  • Are you feeling stressed because you’re not able to fulfill your family’s gift requests?
  • Are you and your partner wrangling over holiday expenses?
  • Are you overloaded with too many invitations and don’t know how to say no?
  • Are you feeling left out because your friends are enjoying the season and you’re not?

Start by considering your attitude. There’s no magic bullet, but your attitude can make a difference.

Ask yourself, “Is my situation a small, medium or large problem? How upset do I want to get over it, and for how long?”

Look at the possibilities around you, not the restrictions.

Learn to recognize common holiday triggers, so you can disarm them before they lead to a meltdown.

  • Relationships – Relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time, but tensions are often heightened during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify, especially if you’re thrust together for several days. On the other hand, facing the holidays without a loved one can be tough and leave you feeling lonely and sad.
  • Finances – With the added expenses of gifts, travel, food, and entertainment – the holidays can put a strain on your budget and your peace of mind. Not to mention that overspending now, can mean financial worries for months to come.
  • Physical demands – Even die-hard holiday enthusiasts may find that the extra shopping and socializing can leave them wiped out. Being exhausted increases your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise and sleep – good antidotes for stress and fatigue – may take a back seat to chores and errands. And to top it off, burning the candle at both ends makes you more susceptible to colds and other types of health issues, both physical and mental.

The key is – don’t forget to take care of yourself during all the busyness!

Take a few minutes for meditation or journaling – or perhaps an hour for a morning run or walk – or a good stretch during yoga – even a bubble bath.

Blue Moon Legacy

As an avid journal writer, I find that dumping my anxieties out in my personal journal helps clear the space for me to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. This one simple act helps me turn overwhelm on its head and look at it from a different viewpoint.

Here are a few journaling prompts that can support you during a hectic holiday season.

  • What brings me peace?
  • How (and/or what) do I want to celebrate this holiday season?
  • As this year closes, I choose to let go of –
  • This holiday season, I need —
  • My stress triggers are –

Journal writing is an excellent way to ease holiday stress – and to minimize or make sense of any pain or loneliness that may surface during this time of year.

This holiday season, give yourself permission to take care of you!

About Tina Games

Tina M. Games is the author of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery (an interactive book with an accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards). As a certified creativity and life purpose coach, and a gifted intuitive, she is the “Moonlight Muse” for women who want to tap into the “full moon within” and claim their authentic self, both personally and professionally. Through her signature coaching programs, based on the phases of the moon, Tina gently guides women from darkness to light as they create an authentic vision filled with purpose, passion and creative expression. She lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with her husband and their two children.

12 Responses to Taking Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

  1. Veronica December 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Such a great focus for this time of year Tina. I too love the idea of journaling my thoughts which puts matters into perspective or at least brings them to awareness. Pinpointing what one is anxious about is a great starting point to begin to relieve the anxiety. Thanks for the holiday relaxation tips!

  2. Sangita December 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    Perfect timing for this article Tina and great tips on Holiday Stress. Since last year I have made my tradition to go for massage and facial the week of Christmas and watch a funny movie:) I like your insightful questions to ask as well. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. Barbara Williams December 13, 2014 at 4:20 am #

    You are so right Tina; we can’t stop stress from coming, but we can certainly prepare for its coming, especially with the powerful tools you have just provided. I love the journaling prompts. Thanks for sharing this timely post.

    Barbara
    http://barbaraannwilliams.com

  4. Patricia December 13, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    Great article Tina! you’re right we have to take care of ourselves during all the busyness! Loved the journaling prompts that you suggest, very helpul, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Teena December 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Perfect timing Tina! I totally agree with the high level of stress that can swirl around so many of us during the holiday season and sweep us out of our daily self-care routines so quickly. Planning for the stress and being aware of what is needed to invite harmony within ourselves and our environment is so important. I hope to make this holiday season a special one by not losing my footing and taking conscious steps in the direction that I want to go in celebrating this special time of year.

    Teena
    http://www.coupletherapyconnection.com

  6. Kailean December 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    I am really resonating with the idea of preparation. We all know that the holiday season can be stressful with so many expectations and so many things to do, so it makes so much sense to prepare for that. How can we simplify? What can we left go of? How big of a problem do we want to make of some of these challenges? You offer great questions to ponder and a way to slow down and identify what we can do to support ourselves through this time.

  7. Martha December 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Great blog Tina and so agree! It is so important to take care of ourselves not only physically, but energetically as well. I love your journaling prompts and this can be so healing! Allowing ourselves to connect to our inner compass and be aware of what our needs are and what we need to let go of for 2015. Thank you for your wisdom!

  8. Marggie December 17, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    Very helpful, Tina…your journaling prompts are the tool that I use faithfully. Thanks so much!

  9. Barbarie December 18, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    I’m without Tina, so Thank You for the reminder.

  10. Bonnie Nussbaum December 21, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    Yes, there are so many reasons for us to be stressed during the holidays. These are some great ways to help with those anxieties. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Pam Kachelmeier December 21, 2016 at 10:56 pm #

    Each year I have to stop and think, what is Christmas, the holidays really all about, shopping or spending quality time with family and friends. And not get caught up in the media materialism. I choose quality time. Great article to remind me of what is really important.

  12. Marian M McCormick December 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Fantastic post! I’ve found that the spirit of the season really gets lost for me as we continue to struggle financially. I do a great job with self-care (sleep, exercise, nutrition), but I really need to work on my mindset shifts! Thanks for the friendly reminder :).

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