[Guest Post – This article was first published in December 2020 and has been republished with some of the best updates.]
Christmas is a time for giving, sharing, and enjoying loved ones, but also for holiday self-care. There’s nothing like getting together with loved ones and reminiscing. Or watching everyone open thoughtful gifts and seeing their expressions.
And while it is a joyous occasion, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for some. The days leading up to Christmas are filled with stressors that practicing a little self-care could do wonders for.
What Causes Stress During the Christmas Holiday
Whether you’re a host or guest, stressful moments may come when everyone gets together. I’m sure everyone knows of that 1 family member that can get under your skin.
That person could be overly enthusiastic or a party pooper. And oftentimes, their behavior could lead to elevated blood pressure and frustration when dealing with them.
Of course, dealing with a difficult person isn’t the only stressor during the holiday. A lot of contributors may cause you stress on this joyous occasion.
As we all know, preparing for Christmas day is a big event for many families. You may be the host of this event and have 30 guests to prep for. Or maybe you and your family have agreed to go to both parents’ houses for the day.
Whatever the case may be, it can put a good amount of stress and anxiety on you as well as those around you. It is the idea of wanting to please everyone for this special occasion but not being able to. And that can make for a difficult time for all involved.
Here are some other contributors to Christmas stress:
- Shopping for food/gifts for others
- Family matters/feuds
- Self-doubt or high expectation to meet everyone’s needs
- Your job or daily workload at home
- Financial situations
- Too many commitments
- Exhaustion and fatigue
Those are just a few that can cause stress and anxiety. We’ve all gone through these and more. However, there are ways to help eliminate some of these stressful moments.
The Benefit of Practicing Holiday Self-Care
Although it may be the holidays and that means extra work, it’s important to continue with self-care. Too many of us become overworked or burned out when dealing with Christmas. And end up spending days or weeks trying to recover.
Just like daily self-care, holiday self-care is geared toward those stressful moments of the Christmas season. Any added stress to the mind and body could lead to:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Stomach Ulcers
- Muscle tension/chest pain
By practicing holiday self-care, you’re giving yourself a jumpstart on staying away from these contributors. When you feel better about yourself, you’re capable of handling a lot more on your plate.
And while tending to yourself may seem like another task on your plate, it’s the top task.
Tips for Practicing Holiday Self-Care
So here are 5 tips that may aid you in lowering or eliminating that unwanted stress and anxiety.
1. Keep Your Daily Routines
Routines such as healthy eating and a good sleep pattern are great during the holidays because it gives you that boost you need. If you have a set time for eating and sleeping, continue to stick with those times. That way you can schedule your Christmas preparation around those routines.
By assigning your Christmas tasks for certain times, it will ensure that your sleeping and eating patterns won’t be interrupted.
Aside from eating and sleeping, you may want to also try sticking as close to your daily routine as possible. Sometimes knowing that familiar things are still visible won’t make you feel as overwhelmed.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
One of the hardest things for someone to do is ask for help. And you may feel that you could do it all on your own. However, having everything on your shoulders can only lead to added stress, anger, and frustration. And it can affect those around you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s packing the kids in the car for the day or prepping the food the night before, use those people around you.
By asking for help, you’ll be eliminating the anxiety and stress of getting things done. And the less stress, the more enjoyable Christmas will become.
3. Set Realistic Goals and Know When to Say “No”
Oftentimes, Christmas can bring on the feeling of aiming to please everyone. And while you may want to see everyone in 1 day, the task of trying to can lead to added pressure. Try setting realistic goals for yourself.
Maybe spend Christmas eve with a few family members and Christmas day with others. Or suggest a potluck Christmas where everyone can show up and bring a dish along. This can also relieve the stress of hosting a large gathering by yourself.
And know that there’s nothing wrong with limiting yourself during the holidays. If you feel you’ve taken on too much, know when to say “no.” Most people are understanding and may even offer to help.
4. Treat Yourself to Something Nice
With all the added pressure of finding the perfect gift for others, you may forget about the most important person. You. During stressful times, treat yourself to something nice. It’s okay to shower yourself, to put you in a better mood.
A small self-appreciation gift of your favorite treat could hit the spot. Or maybe splurge a little and get something fancy or expensive. Treating yourself during those moments could help to relieve some tension you may be experiencing from shopping for others.
And if you want to make it more special, wrap it and leave it under the tree to open on Christmas day.
5. Listen To Your Body and Mind
The most important thing you could do during the Christmas holiday is to listen to yourself. If you’re feeling unlike your normal self, take a step back. Listen to your body and mind when it gives you signs of being overworked.
Allow yourself to take a moment to address your feelings. Or take a day just to relax with something you enjoy doing. By addressing these feelings and emotions, you’re taking a break from the stress you may be feeling.
So, don’t be afraid to give yourself a much-needed break. A good way to release some of your overwhelming feelings is to treat yourself to a calming place. Maybe treat yourself to a spa day or a few hours alone in the park, on the beach, or even in your bathtub.
Christmas is a day filled with a lot of good moments and memories. Yet it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By taking moments in between to care for yourself during the process, your stress levels will thank you in the long run. And while the moments leading up to Christmas can be hectic, the day itself can bring it all together.
Tamaru is a content writer who runs the website, The Silent Torch. She dedicates her writing skills to raising awareness about mental health and self-care. Aside from blogging on her site, she’s pushing her career as a freelance blogger. When Tamaru is not writing, she’s working on her other love, designing graphics for social media, and more. You can learn more about Tamaru at The Silent Torch, Twitter, or Instagram.