Thanksgiving has passed, but do you still find yourself holding your breath?
The holidays aren’t over. December still holds so much holiday stress and errands:
- Buying gifts
- Sending invitations
- Running errands
- Decorating your home
- Wrapping presents
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed!
And if you’re trying to tackle it all alone, you’re bound to burn out.
“The pressure of trying to do everything―plan the perfect holiday, make it home to see your family, say yes to every event, meet those year-end deadlines―can be enough to send anyone into a tail spin,” said Carolyn Gregoire in the HuffPost.
Instead of admiring the twinkling lights and enjoying the warmth of friends and family, you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, drained, and maybe even isolated.
So, what can I do?
The secret to staying empowered during the holidays is realizing that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead, rely on your support systems.
How Support Systems Can Bring You Joy During the Holidays
The holidays feel like they should be a time of joy, but so much of the time they don’t feel like that. More often, stress and the holidays seem to go hand-in-hand.
Tackling your holiday errands while fulfilling your normal responsibilities stretches you thin.
But when you start loosening your grip on the reigns and relying on the people in your support systems, you may notice:
- You feel more emotionally supported
- You lessen the load on your plate and reduce your holiday stress
- You are more resilient to sickness (helpful during flu season!)
- You have more time to actually experience joy and ease during the holidays
But you probably already know how asking for help can help you. So, why don’t you do it? Could it be the excuses you’re telling yourself?
…. I don’t even have enough time to ask… It’s awkward asking for help… They’re too busy and I don’t want to be a bother…
Here’s the thing about support systems: they’re a two-way street! You can ask others for help when you need it, the same way they can ask you for help when they need it.
That’s how powerful bonds that last a lifetime are forged.
And during the holidays, it’s critical to ask for help when you need it if you want to stay empowered. Here are a few ways to lean on your support systems during the holiday season.
3 Tips for Relying on Your Support Systems to Reduce Holiday Stress
1. Use Teamwork to Tackle Holiday Errands
Although your obligations may increase during the holidays, the number of hours you have in a day remains the same.
Doing everything yourself may result in burnout, and you may possibly make yourself sick (the last thing you want during the holiday season).
Delegating certain tasks to friends and family members can help you stay on top of things. For example, you can..:
- Have your children run errands, like buying groceries and picking up dry cleaning
- Designate areas of your home to each family member for tidying up
- Ask your partner to help put up holiday decorations
- If you’re hosting the holiday party, consider making it a potluck. Each person can contribute to the holiday meal, lessening the prep and cooking you’ll have to do that day
- Hold a Secret Santa gift exchange, which may also reduce the amount of gift shopping and wrapping you’ll have to do
Lessening the pile on your plate can reduce holiday stress while freeing up more time (and mental bandwidth) to experience joy and intimacy during the holidays.
2. Be Vulnerable (It’s not as scary as it sounds!)
After this crazy year and now seasonal affective disorder settling in, you might be prone to negative emotions during this time of the year.
Elevated stress, anxiety and overwhelm can make it a struggle just to get out of bed.
So, what might your go-to reaction be?
Bottle it up?
But like putting a lid on a boiling pot, your emotions can tend to rise and may spill over into hopelessness and self-sabotaging behavior.
Being open and vulnerable can help you channel those emotions in a healthy way.
But that’s scary!
Here’s an important thing about your support systems. Choosing the right people to keep close to your heart also means choosing people who love you, support you and uplift you. So, if you’re feeling down, reach out.
It doesn’t always have to be your partner. You can bond with a close friend or family member and share how you’re feeling. You might discover that simply unburdening your emotions can lead to greater clarity, joy and ease.
3. Have Fun With a Loved One
Finally, just have fun.
Too often, you might associate the holidays with stress and errands so that you forget it’s also a time for relaxing, strengthening bonds, and appreciating life.
And you don’t have to wait until the day of the celebration either.
If you’re feeling isolated or just need a break from the daily grind, spend time with your loved ones:
- Catch up with your friends over a video call
- Plan a picnic at the park with your partner
- Schedule a movie night with the family
- Have a spa day at home with the girls
The holidays can be the perfect opportunity to unwind and introduce a little seasonal joy and self-care into your life.