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How to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

December 05, 2017

Women are more likely to have depression than men. They’re also more likely to experience depression because of seasonal affective disorder, a condition that occurs when there are reduced hours of daylight. 

Add to all this holiday-related stress, and some women may feel increasingly overwhelmed this time of year. It’s important to take care of yourself during the holidays. Here are some ways to do it:

Avoid Last-Minute Planning

Procrastination can lead to anxiety and more stress, so start planning early to avoid it. Don’t leave holiday shopping until two weeks before and find ways to make gift-giving easier. Could you shop online to avoid crowded stores and the holiday rush? What about just giving a gift card if you’re too perplexed about what to buy a friend or family member. If holiday decorating often overwhelms you, keep it simple and start well in advance. Many people put up their decorations the day after Thanksgiving. If you’re already in a festive move, take advantage of it or ask someone to help. Delegating can relieve a lot of stress, even if you do wait until last minute to check items off your to-do list. 

Take it Easy on Shopping

The holidays can be a pressured-filled — and expensive — time. Reduce this stress by making a list beforehand for how much you’ll spend on each person and who will receive gifts this year. You could set a price limit for each person and go online to marketplaces like Etsy to find homemade gifts with more personal touches.

Don’t Fill Your To-Do List

We often feel pressured to make an appearance at every holiday party or gathering we’re invited to or to travel out of state to visit relatives, but fulfilling all these obligations makes the holiday season less enjoyable. This year, why not try something different? Saying no is okay, or you could pick and choose a couple of events that you know you’ll really enjoy and attend only these gatherings. 

De-Stress with Your Favorite Hobby

One of the best ways to release stress is to do something fun. The holidays are a busy time of year, but try to devote an hour or two to an activity that brings you joy. This can be as simple as a going for a morning walk, visiting the spa, participating in your favorite sport at a rec league or meeting a friend for lunch – basically whatever brings you peace.

Create New Holiday Rituals

The holidays also can bring sadness for many people who have lost loved ones, especially if there were rituals you shared. To deal with this part of the holiday, try to create new rituals with your friends and family. This could be anything from playing board games on Christmas Eve to preparing a potluck dinner on the actual holiday. Find something that replaces the sad memory with a new and happier one.

Sometimes our expectations during the holidays lead to stress and feeling overwhelmed. This can lead us to lose sight of what the holidays are all about, which is being grateful for our blessings and for amazing family and friends. That’s the most important thing to remember. Everything else is secondary.

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