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How to Prioritize Your Health During the Holidays

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Last Updated on August 8, 2021

Two women leaning on each other and smiling

The holidays can be a very stressful time of the year. Although it’s the most wonderful time of the year, wonder and joy are not the only feelings floating around. The last few weeks of the year are often packed with lots of commitments, stress over getting the perfect presents, and pressure to set perfect goals for the new year. It’s important to prioritize your physical and mental health to make sure that you can enjoy the holiday season. Below are some tips to keep in mind that will help you stay happy and healthy this holiday.

Schedule Self-Care

Self-care can mean a lot of different things, and at the end of the day, the exact meaning will be up to what makes you feel cared for and relaxed. For example, if you hate doing face masks, which is considered a typical self-care activity, don’t make yourself do one. If self-care is getting yourself a set of braces to fix your smile, you can join the 4 million Americans that are wearing braces. Fixing something that has been an insecurity of yours for a while is a form of self-care that can really help your self-confidence not just at the holidays, but year round.

Check In With Yourself

During the holidays, it can be easy to get so caught up in everything happening around you that you lose track of how you’re feeling. This can lead to your emotions coming out in unhealthy ways, like snapping over a small inconvenience or crying over something small and insignificant. To avoid these moments, make sure that you’re taking time to check in with yourself. It can be helpful to make a list of everything that is causing you to stress so that you can think about how to tackle each task or issue without ending up crying when you can’t find the ornament that you swear you put away in this exact spot last year.

If your stress does not feel manageable or is getting overwhelming, try looking into therapy. A therapist can help you create healthy coping mechanisms as well as help you rewire your thinking about certain issues and problems. You don’t have to feel stressed all the time, even if it’s a stressful time of year.

Properly Budget For the Holidays

Nothing hurts your mental health like realizing that you have grossly overspent during the holidays, only to end up with an insurmountable mountain of debt. To avoid filing for bankruptcy because of poor financial planning and spending about six months in the chapter 7 bankruptcy process, plan out and stick to a budget for the holidays.

If you are throwing or attending any parties, set a budget for any party supplies you might need to buy, and make sure that you follow it. If you set aside $50 for decorations and supplies for a secret Santa party you wanted to throw, don’t go to the store and end up dropping $100 or more on decorations just because they were too cute to say no to.

Make sure to also plan out how much you want to plan on all of your gifts. Make a list of everyone that you’ll be buying gifts for, and set an amount that you want to spend on each person on the list. You can plan for a little bit of extra money to go to gifts if someone buys you a gift that you weren’t planning on buying something for, but make sure to stick to your budget overall. Planning will help you to avoid the stress of opening your credit card or bank statement in January only to find that you have spent way more than you can afford.

Work on What is in Your Control

It can be easy to stress out about things that are out of your control, but you have to try to focus on controlling what you actually can. Especially since the holidays overlap with year-end at many companies, it can be easy to stress out over problems at work. For example, if you work for a gas company, you may feel overwhelmed by pipeline corrosion and the $9 billion it annually costs the U.S. economy, but all you can do is control whatever is within your reach. Maybe this means bringing up an idea of how to reduce corrosion of your company’s pipelines, but remember that you cannot magically fix all the issues that arise in your professional or personal life.

You should work on letting go of perfection and instead making what you can control good enough to make you happy. If you decorate your tree and one of the branches just won’t go the direction you want it to, you really are not going to be able to make the branch do exactly what you want. That little branch will not ruin the tree, so try to focus on something else. A good rule of thumb for whether or not something is worth the worry is to ask yourself these questions: will I care about this a year from now? Is there a way to immediately fix this? If the answer to either of those questions is no, try to move on to something else.

Sleep Enough

Getting enough sleep is vital to both your physical and mental health. Sleep is the time when your body is able to repair and recover itself most effectively, so getting enough sleep is important. If you start sleeping enough, you will also be able to have a better grip on your mental health as well since you may be less irritable and more awake and ready to take on the day. Make sure to consult your doctor about the right amount of sleep for you.

The end of the year can be a time of joy, togetherness, and holiday magic, but you have to make sure that you’re taking care of your physical and mental health so you can enjoy it fully. Take into account the above tips to ensure that you are not burnt out once the new year begins.

How do you unwind during the holidays? What’s your favorite form of self-care? Let us know in the comments!