Mental Health

Surviving The Holidays. You Got This.

A guide to help you power through, and make time for what matters most.

Holiday time is Finally here! Thanksgiving has recently ended, but Christmas is approaching fast. Except, your mind hasn’t taken that vacation yet. There’s still SO much to do, and so little time to do it! But don’t stress. Christmas time is a time to be cheery, bright eyed, and overjoyed. It’s a time for love, and laughter! So don’t allow the chaos of your endless to do list bring you down!

Holidays are great and all, but let’s face it, not everyone is completely prepared for that special day. Some are still scrambling to get everything together last minute.  And in retrospect when you have a million things to do, it makes the enjoyment of it slim to none.

The holidays aren’t meant to be stressful, they are meant to be enjoyed. But, how exactly does one get to that? With little to no time left on that clock, is it possible?

Let’s find out how.

Make a plan.

I know it seems crazy, Christmas is only a few weeks away, “How am I ever going to make a plan now.” I promise you it’s possible, it’s easier than you think. You can do it!

Get out that old pen and paper and make a check list. Create a space for what is done, and what still needs to be done, actually think about it.

Don’t power through it without a care, actually take a few moments out of your crazy day to just think about what it is you really need to do. Allow yourself to prioritize. Figure out what it is that has the soonest deadline and start there.

The table decorations you saw on Pinterest that you are just dying to have out? Is it really that important? I think the dinner preparations, that you still have yet to do, come before that. Prioritize.

Eliminate

Seems funny right? But no, really. Again, that cute DIY decoration for the table you wanted to try? Is it honestly something that is worth stressing over just to get it done? I don’t think so.

If there’s one thing I know from the countless hours I’ve spent doing so, it’s that spending a ton of time on decorations and having that picture hung “just right” is not worth the hours, or energy you put into it. Especially if it’s something you are overhauling to try to fit into your already crazy schedule.

It’s okay if you don’t get all of your decorations out. It’s okay if  you didn’t have time to make that extra dessert. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s the imperfections that make perfection seem perfect. So eliminate it.

Ask for help

Okay I know this one seems obvious, but from experience when you get so caught up in the chaos of all that is happening, it’s easy to lose track of the time and simply forget that other people exist.

It’s easy to become so overwhelmed in your every day habits that you simply don’t realize that your best friend, significant other, or family member is a mere phone call away.

Asking for help is not wrong, or bad. It’s actually encouraged. And, when things become too much, and you keep telling yourself, “I got this. I can power through this alone,” the only person you are hurting is yourself. When you ask for help, you alleviate some of the pressure you may be facing, you get things done quicker, and you’ll feel more prepared overall. Plus, you’ll also have more time for you and well, the company is always beneficial.

Make it fun

No really. Make whatever it is you still have to do fun. Find a way to make whatever you still have to tic off of your to-do list a fun activity. Make it into a game, a fun “competition.” Find a way to make it more enjoyable.

Got some desserts to make? Turn on some music, ask for help, and turn your cooking into a dance-a-thon! Make it a “Bake-off.” However you choose to improvise it, just allow yourself to find the Joy in it.

In any task you may have yet to finish, there is always a way to make it into something more enjoyable. Don’t make it a chore. Create an atmosphere that is bubbling with positive energy and allow yourself to make the best of it. It doesn’t have to be stressful, it shouldn’t be. So why not make it memorable?

Find Time to Simply Be. Find time for you.

Take a walk to the, “north pole,” or just sit down for ten minutes and relax. Take the family on a trip to look at Christmas lights, go ice-skating. Find different Christmas activities in your area that you can do with the whole family, or with friends, or even by yourself.

It’s snowing? Get out and allow yourself to be a kid again. Embrace your inner-child. Have that snow ball fight, sled down that hill, or make that snowman! Whatever it is you choose to do, make it happen. Make time to just be present in the moment, right now.

Take that bubble bath. Read a good book, put on that beautiful piece of music, go listen to some carolers at your local mall. Whatever it is, just do it for you. Allow yourself to embrace the day, and re-energize your soul by taking time off to just be.

Go Easy On Yourself

When you get caught up in the moment, you start to blame yourself for not “getting it done sooner.” or for “agreeing to too many things at once.” You do it mindlessly. It’s easy to lose track of things, and fall harshly back on yourself for it. But you don’t have to. Go easy on yourself. Take a breath, understand that you are doing great.

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Decorations are not everything. That dessert you tried so hard to make but just couldn’t get quite right? It isn’t worth the tears, the stress, or the heart ache you may be putting yourself through.

Presents are not everything. And the ability to enjoy all that this life has to offer, especially around this time of year, holds so much more value.

The presence of you alone has more meaning than any other gift might. You are a rock star. Don’t forget that. This time is meant for you, it’s meant for celebration. For family, and for love.

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Also published on Medium.

Katie is an aspiring writer. One who wishes to use creativity, positivity,...