The holidays are right around the corner. While this is a festive period for many people, the holiday season is not only about Christmas lights, cozy evenings and gifts. For a lot of us, this season can cause feelings of stress, anxiety and grief. Especially with the ongoing uncertainty around the pandemic and potential measures. If you can relate to these feelings, consider this a kind reminder to be extra compassionate with yourself during these times. Focus on what feels good and gives you the comfort you need. Below, we have listed 6 tips to get through the holiday season more calmly.
1. Focus only on what you can control
Our mind can sometimes trick us into believing we are in control, as long as we worry long enough. The truth is, we cannot control everything, and worrying about what is out of your control will only bring unnecessary suffering. When you notice worrying thoughts, gently bring your attention back to the question: is [your worry] within your control? if the answer is no, let the worry go and focus on something that is within your control.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others (on social media)
Social media can make other people’s lives look perfect. Try to remember that everyone struggles in one way or the other and people’s struggles are not always visible. Whatever comes up for you during this season.. know that you are not alone.
3. Prioritise self-care and speak kindly to yourself
What is something that makes you feel good? Maybe it is listening to your favourite artist, going for a walk in nature or eating your favourite food. Give yourself the permission to do things that give you peace of mind. Even if that means saying ‘no’ to something else.
4. Set boundaries
Being around family can be challenging for your mental health. Try to find ways to make time with family a bit more enjoyable. Perhaps do some breathing exercises before you see your family and set boundaries where needed. Remember, you are allowed to say ‘no’ to things that do not support your (mental) health.
5. Take a moment to reflect on the past year
Research has shown that reflecting on how you have overcome past challenges makes you more resilient. Take a moment to think about some of the lessons that you have learned this year. Equally important, take a moment to think of everything that went well this year and what you are grateful for.. more on that in the next point!
6. Make a list of things you are grateful for
Many studies have shown that gratitude improves mental health. “Three good things” is a simple exercise that can make a big difference. Every day, write down three things you are grateful for. It can be anything from a good cup of coffee to a nice day with a loved one. No matter how big or small, every moment of gratitude counts.