The holidays are all about celebrating the people we love and getting together with them, often for the first time in a long time. Sometimes you don’t get to see the people you care about because of distances or other situations, but some of the pressure is always there. Fortunately, there are healthy and fun ways to navigate the holiday doldrums, especially if you use them as an opportunity to keep an eye on yourself. Here are five suggestions for helping prepare yourself for the holidays.
Set Your Expectations at Medium
The worst thing you can do for yourself at the holidays is to set yourself up for failure by either assuming the worst or the absolute best. Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst is a healthy way to do this, just be sure you don’t over prepare or fixate on either possible outcome. Think of the facts – you’ll be seeing or speaking to the people you care about, and you’ll do some things together. Maybe you have some responsibilities, maybe you don’t, but just remember it will happen, and you can always take a break if it gets crazy.
Stick to Your Budget
It’s easy to overspend, especially if you haven’t seen someone in a long time, but rather than operating on guilt, give yourself a holiday budget and stick to it. You don’t need debt to make someone else’s holiday a fun one, you just need thoughtfulness. If you aren’t great at crunching numbers, a budgeting app might help you figure that stuff out, even on the go. They can connect to you bank and help you track every penny you spend, allowing you to stick to the number you gave yourself.
Always Eight Reindeer
Sticking to your healthiest habits during the holiday season, creating a healthy and happy routine, is key to happiness as the nights are at their longest. Holiday traditions are an extension of this, too, only with a longer space between each of them. Practicing something familiar, that reliably bonds us with people we care about, is a healthy way to put yourself in the right mindset and appreciate all the things and people in your life. That’s what the holiday season is all about.
Talk to Someone
Even if you aren’t comfortable with therapy or other such options, finding someone you care about to speak with during the holidays is healthy. Everyone experiences some level of stress or anxiety during this time, and relating to or speaking to someone about it is healthy, and will let you enjoy the holiday even more.
You’re the Only You
Comparing yourself to other people is unhealthy – especially if its family. There’s the old “family newsletter” idea that everyone’s accomplishments will be published and scrutinized and compared. You can be compared with anyone else, and they can’t be compared with you. Part of the holidays is finding happiness in equal footing, and a mutual goal of spreading the love.