The holidays, ahh. They are only a short distance away! Though my children have been asking top put the Christmas decorations since October, this weekend, we’ll finally be getting underway with it. When we’re in a good place, it can be such a wonderful and joyful time of year. However, for some of us, it might feel like too much to handle and can present a wide array of challenges. When it comes to mentally preparing for the holiday season, everyone is different and has different needs.
Your greatest reluctance to assemble with others indoors to celebrate the season may be COVID or coughs or colds. Or perhaps you are mourning or thinking about a loved one who are not with you. You might also be feeling overburdened by the impending holiday season in general. I work with many families for whom their neurodiverse children find it especially challenging to cope with much of what goes on during the festive season.
Unfortunately, the holiday countdown cannot be stopped. It is tough to avoid in the modern world. You can, however, do your best to be mentally prepared for what lies ahead and deal with the ideas and concerns that are running through your head right now.
The time is right to start mentally getting ready for the holiday season. You might experience stress during this exciting time, for some it can reach the point of burnout. The stress of travelling, hosting, and tidying up everyone else’s messes is also present. Keeping a budget can negatively impact your emotional and mental health. Additionally, there is pressure to make a realistic New Year’s resolution and to resist all the food and drink that is constantly on offer. There is so much going on that it is understandable that many of us find it an exhausting time of year. Thankfully, “the holiday burnout” can be avoided. In order to fully enjoy the holiday season, it is essential to mentally prepare for it. Make it a priority to get ready for the holiday season.
Here today are 19 ways to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the holiday season.
1. Get clear on your intentions before the holidays start
Set aside some time right now to think about some significant issues. Think to yourself, “What do I want from this holiday season?” What do I object to? When I start to feel overwhelmed, how will I handle situations and emotions?
An example would be if you were at a family gathering and suddenly felt a wave of emotion coming on. Do you know what will help you cope the best? If you decide it’s best for you to leave, will you let yourself?
2. Stay Scheduled
October through January sees a lot get booked up on our calendars. It’s wise to maintain a schedule and make advance plans if you want to prevent losing track of time or forgetting about significant events. Create reminders on your phone or computer to keep you informed and ensure you never miss an event and can feel duly prepared for it. To get ready for the upcoming week’s schedule with work, home life, and social life, check your calendar regularly. Planning ahead for the occasions you know will undoubtedly occur can help you avoid making the worst possible mistake of forgetting something or not feeling prepared for it.You’ll feel more at ease and in control if you’re mentally ready for all of your upcoming commitments.
3. Get Back To Your Roots
It’s simple to forget why the holidays used to be so enjoyable because of all the stress they cause. You don’t have to lose the enchanted feeling that the holidays bring just because you’re an adult. Consider your favourite childhood customs and continue them! Go ice skating with your family or friends, visit some festive lights with your friends—whatever you choose, take some time away from planning to enjoy the little things with the people who matter most to you.
4. Be Mindful of Your Budget
Our financial situation is one of the biggest burdens during the holiday season. Our credit cards start to deteriorate, and the amount of our monthly statements rises sharply. Try creating a personal budget in advance rather than using a credit card to buy presents, food, and holiday supplies and then waiting to pay it off. During the months when you aren’t spending as much, set some money aside. Try to only shop when there are sales going on, and make an effort to become a coupon aficionado. There are undoubtedly ways to have a good time on a tight budget, and doing so will be good for your wellbeing in general.
5. Plan Some Me Time
An important step is to make time for yourself. Your mental health may suffer greatly during the holiday season. With your in-laws staying at your home, social events happening almost every weekend, and the feeling that you’re always running behind schedule, it’s important to step back and take it easy. Spend some time alone practicing mindfulness or self-hypnosis or meditation. You’ll be grateful you did something later, whether it’s a nap, yoga, or having a cup of tea.
6. Stand Up For Yourself
During the holidays, spending time with your family and friends can be wonderful, but it can also have a negative impact on your life. Whatever the reason, it’s crucial to prioritise your needs. Perhaps you don’t get along with your mother-in-law, or your grandparents keep pestering you about having children.
Do not be afraid to defend yourself if a person in your life frequently causes you stress or negative self-esteem. If you have toxic relatives you can exclude from your celebrations, do so. Some people in your life might be too difficult to cut ties with during the holidays. Keep your composure while remaining polite to show to those around you that you are deserving of more respect.
7. Be Realistic
Do not put yourself under pressure to make everyone else’s holiday perfect. It’s acceptable to step back and reevaluate what matters most and what situations will work in the end. Invite your friends and family to help with the food preparation, the purchase of decorations, or the creation of invitations if you’re hosting a holiday party at your home. Spending time with loved ones during the holidays is the best part of the season, and this is far more crucial than ensuring that everything meets an unreasonable standard.
8. Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting limits can seem difficult. But keep in mind that setting boundaries doesn’t always entail isolating yourself from other people. Instead, they focus on understanding when it’s acceptable to stay away from particular situations.
Choose to hang out with people who accept and understand how you’re feeling at holiday gatherings to err on the side of caution. Setting boundaries with a family member or friend who makes you feel uncomfortable will help you maintain a more optimistic frame of mind. Avoid taking on any work projects that prolong your days’ stress and prevent you from taking care of your health.
9. Don’t Ignore Depressions Symptoms
Sadness and grief are common human emotions. But if symptoms persist and interfere with your daily activities, it may be a sign of depression. Thankfully, many people benefit from therapy and/or antidepressants, so do consider seeking help.
10. Make A To-Do List of the Things You Want To Do
When we’re feeling especially depressed during the holidays, we frequently reflect on our deceased loved ones. While taking some time to reflect is fine, staying inside and doing nothing else is not the healthiest option.
Make a list of the enjoyable activities you enjoy doing or novel experiences you want to have this holiday season. Perhaps it’s putting on a drive-through holiday light show or trying a new recipe. What enjoyable experiences can you give yourself? Think about how convenient it will be to have a list at your disposal on days when you don’t feel particularly motivated.
11. Stick To a Routine
One of the best defenses against stress and overwhelm over the holidays is to maintain a routine. You can go into autopilot with a good routine every now and then. The best way to deal with any chaos that may occur during your day is to make a plan that outlines what is going to happen each day. When something unexpected occurs, keep in mind that you can handle it and find solace in the knowledge that your routine will be there when you return.
12. Let Go of the Perfect Holiday
There will unavoidably be times during the holiday season that are less than ideal, despite all the prioritising and setting of boundaries. More than whether your meal was perfect or if you arrived at an event on time, you and your family are likely to remember how the holidays felt. It will always be worthwhile to put the little things aside so you can enjoy your friends and family. And who knows, maybe your family will cherish the fact that your Christmas Pudding turned out to resemble the Abominable Snowman.
13. Prioritise Your Favorite Traditions
By identifying what is most important to you and your family, you can ensure that you make time for the activities that make you happy. Make sure the holiday traditions you love to partake in as calendars fill up.
14. Get Over Fomo
December seems to be filled with events, but if you want to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling holiday season, you must overcome your FOMO (fear of missing out). You shouldn’t try to do everything and you can’t. Make a list of all your upcoming commitments and indicate what you must attend, what you want to attend, and what you can skip.
15. Stop Feeling Guilty
There are numerous reasons to feel guilty during the holidays. You invite the wrong people to the party, accidentally offend a parent, and eat enough junk food in a few days to last a year. Every time your guilt arises, you must consciously stop it. Use affirmations like “I don’t need to be perfect,” “I am a good person,” and “My value is not determined by the food I eat” when talking to yourself.
16. See a Counselor
Many of our more serious problems are able to come to the fore during the holiday season. It’s normal for feelings of loneliness, depression, family trauma, and stress to surface at this time of year. As the season begins, take advantage of the chance to talk to a confidant or counselor so that you can mentally get ready for the month ahead.
17. Decorate Your House Beforehand
Start early while you still have time if decorating the house for the holidays is a tradition. Make it a family activity, and you’ll enjoy it as well as lessen the pressure to make the holidays perfect when you already have a ton to do.
18. Exercise Regularly
You can improve your physical and mental health by exercising. It causes the release of natural hormones that uplift your mood and give you a positive feeling. Additionally, exercise strengthens the body, improves immune function, and lowers stress. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule also puts you in charge of this area of your life, which is a great way to balance out the sometimes chaotic holiday season. Additionally, it may give you the mental fortitude to endure stress.
19. Find Your Wing Person
Choose a trusted person in advance who will either be present when you attend a particular holiday gathering or who can be reached by phone. Ask them if they would be able to provide support during the gathering by approaching them beforehand and sharing your feelings. Being accompanied by a support person can help you avoid triggering situations and change the subject of awkward conversations. Make up a code word that you can use to let people know if you’re feeling overwhelmed and could use some help. And if you need to call a support person from another location to help you relax or plan, just excuse yourself and leave the party for a while to go somewhere more private.
The holidays can be stressful for a variety of reasons, such as mounting financial obligations, inflated expectations, and full schedules. You can avoid feeling overwhelmed and enjoy this holiday season with your friends and family by putting these advice on how to prepare your mindset for the holidays into practise now.
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