As busy moms, the holidays can become an even crazier time for us. We can often feel like we’re the ones doing everything to make sure our entire immediate and extended families have a memorable holiday. You may have the tendency to want to feel like everything is perfect, and this year the stress is compounded by the pandemic.
When you’re overly stressed about anything, including the holidays, it can have detrimental effects on your health, safety, and quality of life.
For example, if you’re running errands and there’s a lot of holiday traffic, you might not be paying attention to the road. That can put you at an increased risk of being in an accident.
Your physical health may start to decline with too much stress, and you may have symptoms like headaches or fatigue. Some people turn to substances to cope with stress during the holidays, so you could find yourself reaching for an extra glass of wine.
The most important thing you can do to deal with your holiday stress is to manage your expectations and realize that no person or holiday is perfect.
The following are some other things to keep in mind.
Give Yourself Quiet Time Each Morning
When you feel like your to-do list is a mile long, you might jump out of bed each morning already worried about how you’ll get it all done.
Instead of trying to hit the ground running, especially during a busy time of year, give yourself a few minutes each morning just to “be.”
Have quiet time before you start thinking about tackling anything for the day.
Maybe you don’t want to have quiet time in the morning, so fit it in whenever you prefer.
During this time, work on being mindful and quieting your thoughts. It’ll be tough at first because most of us have such divided attention, but over time you’ll gain more control over your thoughts in general if you practice.
Move Your Body
During the winter, you’re busy, and the weather’s cold and maybe not ideal for exercise, but still try to make time to move your body in some form or another.
Move your workouts indoors, for example.
When you regularly exercise, it boosts your mood and helps you relieve anger and tension in a healthy way.
If you’re inactive, you might start to feel depressed and fatigued fairly quickly.
When you’re moving and making time for exercise, you’re boosting your natural production of endorphins, which can carry you through a stressful time.
Don’t Seek Comfort in Food or Drinks
The holidays are a good time to splurge and have decadent food and drinks from time to time but don’t rely on that all the time.
It’s common to start over-consuming everything during the holidays, including sugar and alcohol. However, food and alcohol should never be something you use to comfort yourself or feel good.
Treat yourself, but not to the point that these unhealthy habits become a crutch.
Be present when you’re eating and drinking, and aware of what you’re consuming.
It’s easy during the holidays to feel like you want to do everything for everyone. Your to-do lists may feel a mile long, but that sets you up for disappointment with yourself if you don’t get everything done.
Instead, be realistic about what you can really get done.
You might find it’s helpful to create two to-do lists. One is your need to do, and one is your nice to do.
Then, you can tackle things in terms of their level of priority.
During the holidays, you’re worried about treating everyone else, but take the same care of yourself.
Enlist help to do things that you can’t do or maybe don’t want to do. For example, order groceries to be delivered, or splurge and have someone come and clean your home for you. You might also consider having someone else do a bit of the cooking for you during this time of year.
One of the best ways to boost your mood and feel good about the holidays no matter what else is going on is to be generous. Maybe you volunteer somewhere with your family or donate money to something important to you.
You could also make heartfelt handmade gifts rather than buying items.
It’s been a tough year for everyone, and one of the best ways to make yourself feel better is to make others feel better.