For some of us, the holidays aren’t full of good cheer. For some, holidays bring feelings of depression, a sense of loss, loneliness and isolation, and tension. If you feel like you are just surviving the holidays, make sure you are caring for your mental health. Regardless if you already suffer from a mental health condition, (and 1 in 5 adults do!) the holidays can bring extra stress to anyone.
As mamas we already are stretched thin with the day-to-day that is raising little humans. Throw in the extra stress of the holidays—financial strains, traveling, and extra family members—it can all be too much.
We take extra steps to buffer the effects of the holidays from our kiddos- rearranging schedules and routines, lowering our expectations, and sometimes saying no to all the extra activities surrounding the holidays. But what about us?
Here are 5 simple tips for surviving the holidays and taking care of yourself
If the holidays are hard for you, know you aren’t alone!
Be realistic: Lower your expectations
We all try to make the holidays as “perfect” as we can for our families. But the truth is, they don’t have to be. Decided not to participate in Elf on the Shelf? Oh well! Didn’t bake perfect sugar cookies that were Instagram worthy? Oh well! Sometimes, we set the bar too high on what we expect during the holidays. Then we feel like we failed if we didn’t measure up. So, lower that bar mama and know everything you are doing is enough!
Ask for help
We all have our tribes (All the praise hands for them!) but how often do we call on them? I, for one, am guilty of this. Sometimes, I feel like I need to do it all and asking for help is a sign of weakness. Especially during the holidays, it is ok to ask for help from your tribe! Whether it’s help from your husband to help with extra cleaning or asking your mother-in-law to bring dessert, take a little off your own plate, mama!
Acknowledge your feelings
If you’ve experienced a loss in the family, it’s ok to be sad and miss their presence, especially during the holidays. Sometimes, we feel, especially during the holidays that we are supposed to be happy. Acknowledge your feelings and know that it’s ok to feel the way you are feeling.
We make sure our kids get enough sleep during the holidays, but are you? If you are like me, you are the last to go to bed and the first one to wake up. Most of our sleep suffers during the holidays, as well as any semblance of healthy eating. Make sure you are getting plenty of shut eye and eating regularly and in moderation to help regulate your mood, especially during stressful times.
Spend time with those who matter
Surround yourself with supportive, caring people who YOU want to spend the holiday with. Say “no” to extra activities or activities with people who don’t fill the above description. If there is a particular family member who causes extra stress for you, try your best to maintain a safe distance from them! On the other side, take time for yourself when you need to. Do something you love- read, write in your journal, listen to music- anything you love to do- so you can feel refueled.