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What You Need To Survive The Holidays

It is clear that the holiday season is upon us. Before giving in to stress, and anxiety, discover and explore some ways to cope and survive the holidays.
Losing focus on what matters this season? Read on for tips on combatting the holiday blues and get back to the joy of the season!
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Walking through the stores, it is evident that the holiday season has arrived. The arrival of the holiday season is often marked by feelings of anxiety and stress. If you’re not careful, all the craziness around the holidays can be too much to handle with our already busy lives. So, in an attempt to avoid the holiday madness, let’s explore some strategies that can help you survive this holiday season.

Everyone’s families, plans, and circumstances are exceedingly different. So, before I go in on my tips, I would like to inform you of my perspective. I have an amazing, big family, spread out across Texas. For us, the holidays are special because it is not about how we are related, but about the love that we share with each other. That being said, the months leading up to the holidays are often overwhelming! We spend so much time planning where we will meet, who is cooking what, who is decorating, where everyone will sleep, and all the other minute details. Then, there’s the issue of figuring out how to get gifts for everyone without going bankrupt after juggling birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, and all the things we have on our plates from day to day life. And I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t get time off around the holidays very easily if at all. It can be a lot to deal with. So, to combat this, I’ve developed a few things that help and a few new strategies that I will be trying to keep my wife and I sane this holiday season.
  • Avoid Overcommitting

    The biggest advice I can ever give is to not overcommit. That seems like a simple idea, but in practice it is challenging to accomplish. Our tendency to overcommit might stem from guilt, the desire to please others, or simply not realizing we are taking on more than we can handle. This simple thing can make it extremely hard for us to enjoy the precious time we get to spend with our loved ones. Taking time off around the holidays is hard for most people, so make plans that allow you to enjoy what you're there for. Assign yourself tasks but don’t overdo it. Everyone must play their part in bringing these events together; it’s not all on you. You deserve to enjoy the family and festivities along with all the other guests. These things are easier said than done, and as hard as it may be the simplest advice is just saying NO! You should play your part and help, but if you’re not honest with yourself and your family on what you can  handle, then you’re doing a disservice to everyone involved. 

  • Find Creative Ways to Stay Connected

    It’s uncomfortable for us to change our traditions, or what we are used to, but in the middle of a pandemic we must break the preconceived notions we are used to. During this time, video chatting is a great way to communicate with family and friends you’re not able to see. It isn’t the same as being there in person, but we must understand our limitations. We can’t be everywhere at once, and we must keep ourselves safe. With all my family spread out, this is a cool way to still show our love and remind them they are still with us,  even if they cannot be with us physically. 

  • Consider Creative Gift-giving Ideas to Limit Holiday Spending

    Money worries and overspending can ruin the joy of the holidays. Since my family is so big it can be difficult to buy everyone a present, so I have come up with a few creative gift-giving ideas. One option is to organize an adult gift-giving game. The gift-giving focus still remains on the kids as usual, but instead of having to buy gifts for every adult, we set up a white elephant or secret santa exchange. It's a great way to make sure everyone gets a meaningful gift, rather than giving generic gifts because of financial concerns or due to a lack of gift ideas. DIY gift-giving may be an alternative for families who aren't open to changing their traditions regarding gift-giving. For example, a couple of years ago my wife and I bought several antique cast iron bottle openers, faux leather, and used some scrap wood we already had. With those items we made wall mounted bottle openers with a cap catcher. It took us one weekend and less than one hundred dollars to make these gifts for all the adults for Christmas. It was a hit! I still see these in my families’ homes, and it makes me smile knowing that it wasn’t the cost that mattered. This is what has worked for us. I challenge you to see what works for your family! 

  • Come Up With a Game Plan for Handling Family Issues

    We all have that one relative or friend that must bring up a controversial topic at the most inopportune time, whether it be a heated discussion about politics or any of the many other things that can derail a joyous time quick, fast, and in a hurry. It’s usually the catalyst that can turn a great time into a battle. The best way to counteract this is to not participate. Although it may be gratifying to lash out and give that person a piece of your mind, this usually does more damage than good. If you can calmly continue, do so. If not, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the situation, so you can enjoy the time you have left. Try playing with the kids, getting into another conversation that isn't destructive, or venting to a trusted loved one before exploding. Trust me it’s not worth it. Spend your time on the things you can enjoy instead of hyper focusing on the things you can’t change.

  • Be Sure to Take Time For Yourself

    During the holidays there is increased demand for your time and energy, and you’ll find yourself with very little personal time. It’s important that you find time here and there to give yourself space and take a break, whether it’s taking a moment to breathe, read a book, watch TV, exercise, or just taking a long shower or bath. Even though we spend the holiday season thinking of others, it is also important to take care of ourselves.

These are just a few of my practices I use to get the most out of the holidays. The main goal is to relax and focus on having a good time rather than trying to make every detail perfect. We are all unique, so we experience the holidays in different ways. Maybe you don’t have family and your holidays are spent alone, with friends, or just with afriend. There is nothing wrong with that, and it should be something that’s celebrated. Break the mold and make the holidays something you look forward to, instead of dreading.

Here’s hoping you can make this holiday season one to remember!
Comment below: What are your tips for surviving the holidays?

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