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Seven Strategies to Survive the Holidays

Seven Strategies to Survive the Holidays with Your Sanity (and Health) Intact

Is it just me, or is the amount of stress around the holidays higher than at any other time of year? There are parties to plan and attend, presents to pick out and (and pay for), and family interactions to carefully navigate through, all while the usual anxieties of life continue their steady beat in the background.

All of this can lead to burnout and the possibility of dropping the ball on your health, and I know that’s the last thing you want to add on top of your already very full life.

Here are seven strategies to get through the holidays with your sanity intact:

  1. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
  2. You do not need to plan, decorate for, and cook the entire holiday party menu for both your annual party and the shindig at your office. Let someone else do some (or all!) of it. Same goes for picking out presents, wrapping, and addressing holiday cards. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.

  1. Let go of perfection.
  2. Pinterest is fun to look at, but man, it can create some serious anxiety. What if your origami turkey place cards don’t turn out like the picture??? It’s so not worth it, so let it go.

  1. Exercise.
  2. It will keep you healthy and help ease your stress. Even getting out for a twenty minute walk may help you keep calm and carry on.

  1. Prepare for family interactions.
  2. The holidays often mean seeing family members that you usually steer clear from for the rest of the year, not to mention that sometimes being around family makes you feel like a kid again (which isn’t always a good thing). Mentally prepare yourself for these encounters by writing down what your biggest obstacles will be and how you’ll handle them.

  1. Plan something to look forward to after the holidays.
  2. I once had a coworker who went on a cruise every January—right after she got the holidays out of the way. Why not do something similar, even if on a smaller scale, so that when you’re knee-deep in pie crust you can take a deep breath and picture that amazing vacation/massage/football game and tailgate you’ll be attending once it’s all over?

  1. Practice those deep breathing exercises that someone in your life has probably told you to try.
  2. It might sound hokey, but deep breathing really can help you feel more relaxed. Try inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, making sure to breathe into your stomach, not your chest. Your shoulders should stay relaxed, too. Take at least ten breaths and see how you feel.

  1. Get enough sleep!!!
  2. Being overtired is one way to make every little snide comment your sister makes seem like the start of a nuclear war. Do your best to stick to a reasonable bedtime, and don’t eat too close to bedtime, as it makes a restful sleep harder to come by.

The holidays come once a year, and they can be really fun if you don’t get too wrapped up in them. Another thing to remember is that they come every year, so you may as well learn how to get through them with the least amount of stress possible, since you know you’re going to have to do the whole thing over again next year. Don’t forget to breathe!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.