Charles Dickens famously wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Mr. Dickens was describing pre-French Revolution conditions, but his choice of words may resonate strongly with how many of us feel about the holiday season.
The holidays are a whirlwind. While it’s great to celebrate the season with family and friends, it can be incredibly stressful to manage all the gift buying, home decorating, and party planning. By the end, you’re completely drained. You may even feel as if you never had a holiday at all.
If you’re expecting a stressful holiday this season, here are several suggestions to help you recover.
1. Treat yourself.
Those of you who are so busy making the holidays special for everyone else need to take time for yourselves.
Maybe you take an extra day off from work. Maybe you take a vacation. If time and money constraints don’t allow for that, at least treat yourself with a gift or a spa day. Just find some way to reward yourself and do something that makes you happy.
2. Limit social media.
Did you know social media can make you depressed? Some call it compare and despair. We can’t help but compare ourselves to our friends and social connections. Even an amazing holiday may suddenly not seem so great if we compare it to someone else’s. It isn’t logical, but it’s psychological.
It may be unrealistic to avoid all emails and text messages, but try and limit your browsing time on applications like Facebook and Instagram. Appreciate what you have instead of setting a standard of happiness based on what others post online.
3. Be sure to declutter.
The holiday spirit intertwines with the spirit of giving. Before you know it, you’ll be shocked at how much you’ve accumulated from other’s generosity.
Clutter increases stress. To help decrease those stress levels, you may need to rid yourself of a few items.
Try the four-box method: “Keep,” “Toss,” “Donate” and “Store.”
Take your closet for example. Go through all your clothes and determine what you should keep, what should be tossed away, what you should donate, and what you should store because you don’t need it right now.
Not only will this remove the clutter, you’ll derive a sense of satisfaction from your donations and helping those in need. Charity rewards the brain.
4. Spread out the cleanup.
Many of us have a need to clean up from the holidays the moment they finish. But guess what, you’re not breaking the law if the tree isn’t at the curb by 9am on the 26th.
It goes without saying you can’t leave the lights up forever and the stockings will need to come down at some point, but spread out your cleanup. Do a little at a time. Instead of rushing to do it in one day, spread it out over several. This way you won’t feel as rushed and you’ll enjoy the season just a little bit longer.