5 Ways to Stay Sane This Holiday Season
In my favorite Christmas movie of all time, Clark Griswold wants nothing more than an “old-fashioned family Christmas.” Though he and his wife try their best to make the perfect holiday, it quickly goes off the rails and shenanigans ensue.
Now that I have kids, I can totally understand Clark Griswold. As a parent, I want to create a magical holiday for my kids. But I also know that road can lead to late nights, stress, and crazytown.
Listen, I don’t want you to electrocute your great aunt’s cat or have your house destroyed by a squirrel for you to realize that the holidays should be about love and happiness. There are easier (and less expensive) ways to get there. Let’s talk about ways to stay sane this and every holiday!
5 Ways to Stay Sane This Holiday Season
1. Set Priorities
What are your 2-3 priorities for the holiday season? Your regular life (work or school) needs to be on the list. But what other things MUST you accomplish during the holidays? What would you LIKE to do? Who do you want to spend time with?
Schedule all the things that MUST get done or is a priority first. Then see if you have any extra time. If you do, awesome! If not, it’s time to prioritize your priorities. Think I’m kidding? I’m not.
If making cookies with your mom is a priority, schedule it. If you’d rather clean your bathroom than attend the neighbor’s Christmas party, skip it! This is about what makes you happy this holiday season – avoid the stress-filled activities. (Just don’t forget to study for final exams!)
2. Lower Your Standards
Speaking as a woman who has thrown away delicious baked goods because they didn’t look “good enough”, I know that perfection can get in the way. Trying to create the perfect anything – cookie, present, party – will drive you crazy. Because perfect isn’t possible, excellence is though.
Every December I get to a point where stuff is good enough. Is it perfect? Heck no. Is it excellent? Sometimes. But I would rather enjoy my time than give myself a breakdown trying to make it just right.
3. Step Away from Social Media
Social media is the curse of sanity. You see all these pretty pictures of other people’s “perfect” holidays. Try to remember that celebrities and influencers have massive budgets and assistants to create that look. You don’t. If it’s your neighbor, you’re seeing the highlight reel, not the disaster that preceded it.
If looking at social media makes you feel in any way inadequate, back away. Try to lower your screen time or delete those apps off your phone altogether. I spend way less time on social media these days and feel so much better.
4. Consider Your Health
Speaking of health, did you know that getting more sleep can improve your physical and mental health? This season can be so difficult, that you need to prioritize your own health. And getting enough sleep is a big part of that.
If you have to stay up late to wrap presents, make cookies, or get the cards addressed, please consider the advice I gave earlier to lower your standards. And then go to bed.
I’m writing this in the fall of 2020, when the pandemic is roaring back. Please, please, please consider your family and community’s health when making plans. If you’re getting anxious about an activity or get-together, just cancel it. It’s not worth your mental anguish or possibly getting the coronavirus.
5. Give Back
One of the fastest ways to feel gratitude for the blessings in your life is to give back. Adopt a family in need in your community, take a shift at the local food bank, or collect coats and blankets for the homeless shelter. (Psst – I have more ideas here!) Not only are you helping those in need, but your own life is instantly put into perspective.
Check out VolunteerMatch.org to find volunteer opportunities in your community! They have both in-person and virtual volunteer gigs.
These tips should help you chill out this holiday season and keep it together. Remember to focus on family and fun. Drop the stressful and not-fun stuff!