Healthy, Helpful, Holiday Hacks!

Enjoying the Holidays and Healthy, Helpful, Holiday Hacks!

As the holiday season approaches the social expectations, familial expectations, and personal expectations tend to take over and flood the brain. There are often expectations regarding gifts, time away, food, hosting and many, many other things. Even if you do not celebrate the holiday season the stress from others can boil over and affect you!

The holiday season can easily take over our lives and leave us feeling resentful and glad when it’s over. Some individuals have even gotten to the point where they dread the holiday season so much that they simply no longer do it. While I personally still engage with the holiday season, I think this is a wonderful way of affirming self-worth and taking back control from external expectations!

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the holiday season? How can we go about setting ourselves up for success this holiday season?

I have found a few things are very important when planning to either survive or thrive during the holidays. Here is my list of “Healthy, Helpful, Holiday Hacks!”

Healthy, Helpful, Holiday Hacks!

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1) Know where you need to be and when. Take the time to really nail down your schedule. Write it in your phone, set reminders, or even alarms! This will take a mountain of stress off your shoulders. It will also prevent you from double booking yourself!

2) Say no. You can’t be everywhere at once. For your schedule to work you must only schedule yourself for what you can handle. There is nothing worse than having to rush a dinner in order to make another dinner. You must also consider the personal time you will need during the holidays. You cannot fill the holiday season full of events for others without taking time for yourself. You will burn out and you will likely start to feel resentful.

3) Think carefully about gifting. Do you need to give gifts? Are there certain people that you feel you need to get gifts for? Are there others that could do without? Financial stress is paramount during the holidays; thus, it is important to figure out if you can afford to give gifts. Handmade cards or even notes are often a much more personal gift than a small trinket, and they cost very little to make.

If you are thinking of making a card or writing a note here is a tip for what you can include in order to make the gift that much more special: when writing a note or card instead of a gift answer the following questions: 

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  • How do you know this person?
  • What do you really like about this person?
  • What makes this person unique?
  • What do you hope for this person during the Holidays?

For example, If I was writing a note to myself, I might say:

Dear Cammi,
I am so thankful to have known you my entire life. You are an amazing listener and I love the different colours you are constantly dying your hair. I hope you have a great holiday season and get to spend some quality time with those you love!

4) Take time for yourself. This is a must. Not only taking time for yourself but also making time for yourself in advance. In order to be present, you need to be well rested and mentally fresh. You cannot be present if you have not had time to take care of yourself.

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5) Bring a deck of cards and put the phone away. Cellphones are a great escape, in fact, they are the best escape; however, they take away from the communal experience. There are often situations during the holidays where people are gathered, and while some enjoy this experience and the opportunity for conversation others can feel anxious or bored. Having a deck of cards, and knowing how to play and teach a quick card game can give individuals a fun activity to engage in. The advantage of cards over other games is that they are small, well known to most people, and can easily be pulled out in many different situations.

6) Keep going to therapy or counselling. Make time to continue your sessions if you see a therapist or counsellor. This is one of the most stressful times of the year, this is the time when most people really need that special hour to talk to someone, to vent to someone, to paint their anger, or to strategize about getting through that one particular family dinner.

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7) Do something playful! One of the most therapeutic things for stress is to play! I say it often, adults simply do not play enough! Go make a snowman! Make a gingerbread fortress! Create the most decadent hot chocolate you can think of! Watch your favourite holiday movie! Let your inner child out!

I wish you the best this holiday season and I hope you can share it with those you love and cherish.



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