The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. Even in the best of times, we juggle our regular work and family responsibilities with the added tasks of shopping, wrapping, get-togethers with friends and family, decorating, baking...the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder people get so overwhelmed.
And in 2020, there is the added stressor of the global pandemic COVID-19. Let’s face it, 2020 is a year unlike any other, with anxiety, concerns, and for many of us, losses like we’ve never experienced before.
There’s no question—it can be a tough couple of weeks, even without the coronavirus.
Fortunately, there are helpful ways to manage stress. Below are some of our favorites to keep the feelings of overwhelm in check.
Getting organized and making the necessary plans for the holidays goes a long way toward minimizing stress. Sit down with a pen and pad, device, or calendar, and make a holiday to-do list. Include a list of gifts you need to buy, those you want to purchase, and map out how you’ll buy them.
Online shopping is the method of choice these days we all know—and many of us partake in. The uptick in business has caused countless delays in package shipping and delivery, even from our previously dependable carriers.
Give yourself enough time to buy and ship your gifts. And don’t forget to schedule some time for self-care, whether it’s meditation, a walk outside, or simply sitting in a quiet place in your house for a few moments and regrouping.
Get regular exercise.
Exercise is essential all year round, and it’s especially critical during the hectic holiday season. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, and taking time for yourself is key.
We all know if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of everyone else; easier said than done. You may spend less time outside as the weather turns colder; however, your overall well-being depends to some extent on you getting out of the house and into nature.
Grounding, also called earthing, is a great way to re-focus and give yourself an energy boost. Merely walking in nature for as little as 20 minutes can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Be kind to yourself.
The 2020 holiday season is unlike any other, as we struggle with challenges like a pandemic and record job loss, personal upheavals, and for some, the passing away of loved ones. Give yourself a break. Your holiday doesn’t have to be perfect. We encourage making the best of your family’s situation, whatever that looks like.
Then there is reality; your household budget may be a little tighter than last year, which means fewer gifts. For many, you’re opting out of larger year-end holiday extravaganza due to safety concerns. Enjoy your family gatherings, even if they include just your immediate family and, for some, Zoom video chats, also.
You’re not alone—everyone’s holiday will look and feel different this year. Remember the true meaning of the holiday and focus on the positives in your life. Look ahead to the new year and celebrate being with the ones you love.
Breathe, breathe, breathe. Take a few moments and sit quietly, just focusing on your breath. Meditation is a great way to help reduce and manage stress and anxiety any time of year, especially during the holidays. Want to improve your meditation? Add some grounding elements to deepen your meditation practice.
If it’s too cold to go outside, use a grounding mat or other product inside. Meditation is a calming practice; grounding is a way to connect directly with the earth through bodily contact. They can have a powerful effect when used together.
Take a break.
Don’t let your to-do list run your life. As we have already mentioned, 2020’s holiday season will be different from years past, to put it mildly. Take a break from over the top holiday prep. So many of us are already exhausted from months of quarantine and altered schedules.
Let the holidays be your break and enjoy the season—don’t make it more stressful by putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Bake fewer cookies. Put up fewer decorations. Get a smaller tree.
The day will still be one to remember, regardless of where you “cut back” or “do less” than in previous years. And here’s a guaranteed tip—the little ones in your life won’t even notice the smaller tree or other changes you made. They’ll just remember the warm feeling of being with their loved ones.
It’s also good for your mental and emotional well-being to reduce your time on social media. The holidays should not be a competition. Don’t look at your friends’ social media pages and turn your posts into competition due to feeling a little envious or even a bit down.
Allow yourself all the feelings.
The holidays can be an emotional time of year, and 2020’s season is no exception. Most of all, allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. It’s been a challenging year for everyone, with life as we know it upended and things continuing to change all the time.
Acknowledge your fear, frustration, sadness, and anxiety, but let yourself feel joy and peace, too. Those closest to you understand—they are probably feeling the same way.
How are you handling your holiday stress this year? What changes are you making to your celebration? These are good questions to always ask yourself.