The December Blitz: 5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

It’s holiday season again, and we all have 46,000 things to do. There is family, kids home from school, shopping, the work Christmas party, friends parties, holiday projects, cooking holiday meals, decorating the house, etc. Everyone has an extra full plate. The holidays are supposed to be a fun time, but too often we find ourselves buried and overwhelmed. It’s important to take care of yourself this time of year. Here are 5 ways to make sure you aren’t burning yourself out…

5) Just Say No

Don’t be afraid to tell people “no”. You don’t have to agree to do everything. Office party on an inconvenient day? Third cousin Suzy want to stay for 3 nights? Kid’s school need 50 cookies in the shape of every state? You can say no to this stuff. You don’t even need much of a reason. You don’t owe everyone an explanation of why you aren’t up to doing something.

Saying no to a request doesn’t make you a bad person. It means that you’ve looked at your current schedule, and this request simply doesn’t fit into it. It is not your responsibility to fulfill every task requested of you. The flip side of this is that if you always say yes, people will keep asking for more. It’s not even always malicious. They simply may not know that you are overwhelmed. Say no sometimes.

4) Do Something For Yourself

This time a year tends to focus on everyone around us, and although the spirit of selflessness is great, it needs to be tempered with time for self. Take a few minutes and do something you enjoy or find relaxing. I honestly don’t care what this is. It could be a massage, video games, going to a movie, trapeze lessons, etc. The activity is largely irrelevant, the important part is that you take time for a thing you enjoy that has nothing to do with anyone else. The reset button of an activity we personally enjoy is imperative when trying to deal with all the outside stressors of the season.  Find the time, and if you truly cannot find the time then take a look at the next entry…

3) Do not Overextend

It’s not always other people who we need to tell “no”. Sometimes we take on way too much ourselves and nobody even asked us. It is very easy to do this during this time of year because the opportunity to get involved is everywhere. There are open requests everywhere for volunteers and helpers at every turn. Look, it is great to get involved and I encourage people to do so. That being said, you need to understand your personal limitations of time and stress. This may mean not volunteering or getting involved with every single project that comes up this year. It’s ok… they’ll be back. You’ll be happier that you didn’t do the 7th extra thing that you are contemplating doing.

2) Focus On Your Immediate Family

This time of year family comes from everywhere. It’s great to see family, but it can be really overwhelming. The simplest days with immediate family and only the people closest to us are really important. I’m not defining immediate family in any concrete way. You know who they are. It’s the people you think about all the time, not just a few days a year. In all the whirlwind of every other person you have ever met it can be easy to lose time with the people you want time with most. Don’t do that. Schedule time and stick to it. Those are the days you will enjoy most.

1) Ask for Help

Sometimes we all need help, and that help comes in many forms. It may be help on our tasks, help with stress, or therapeutic help. It’s OK to need help, and it is OK to ask for it. Too often people assume that they can handle everything alone. This time of year is packed to the brim on both a day to day event level and also an emotional level. Holidays bring back a ton of thoughts and feelings for many people, and that can be too much. Get help. There is no shame in needing a hand. Just remember, if you ask someone for help and they can’t do it, it’s not a personal attack… they might just be taking care of themselves as well.

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