When you think of the upcoming holiday season, does it immediately raise anxiety and stress levels? If so, you are not alone. This season can sometimes bring unexpected gatherings with toxic family members, an overcommitment of gift-giving, streets full of impatient drivers, and the stress of managing it all.
There is hope. Believe it or not, we can all still have a joyous holiday despite the stressors that come with this season. Here are some practical tips to help make this holiday one you can genuinely enjoy.
Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries.
Boundary issues can be the most difficult to handle at the family level. It can feel uncomfortable if we haven’t practiced this skill. Start with these 4 rules:
- Set your boundaries. What will you tolerate and not tolerate? What behaviors will you accept and not accept? Include everything from protecting your schedule to how someone can treat you. Write them down and trust your decisions.
- Decide the consequences. Most of us have at least one “boundary breaker” in our family therefore decide ahead of time what the consequences will be if your boundary is broken…regardless of who breaks it.
- Communicate clearly. Make your boundaries and consequences known…especially with family members who are known to cross the line. Be direct and clear. Their response or reaction is not your responsibility.
- Follow through. If a boundary is broken, you know what to do. Be firm yet compassionate. Honor yourself by not allowing people to treat you poorly.
Set Realistic Expectations.
For some reason, we can feel like the holidays have to be perfect or even better than last year. We try to top last year’s gift list or attend more parties. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real struggle for many however it comes at a cost. Consider these ideas:
- Stick to a budget. Decide ahead of time how much you can afford and stick to it. If you are someone who loves showering people with gifts, think of ways to do this without overspending.
- Plan ahead. Choose specific days for shopping, baking and family gatherings. Avoid last minute trips to the store by planning your menus and shopping lists in advance.
- Take time for yourself. This season is meant to be enjoyed by all…including you. Even setting aside 15 minutes a day alone to take a walk, read, or meditate can drastically reduce stress.
Know When to Seek Professional Help.
Talk therapy is always a good idea…especially when it is with a licensed therapist. If you are feeling persistently anxious, unable to sleep at night or focus during the day, let’s talk.
Southend Psychiatry is here as you navigate the pressures, demands and triggers of the holidays. We can come alongside you to offer support and help. Contact Southend Psych today to inquire about appointment availability and get on your way to a better you.
Schedule your appointment today with one of our SouthEnd Psychiatry clinicians. Book your appointment online or call 1-800-632-7969 to get started today.