In a time full of high expectations for joy, holiday memory making and family, it’s not surprising that the holidays are some of the most stressful times of the year for Americans. Unrealistic expectations, financial pressures and excessive commitments can lead to all kinds of unpleasantness. But for some, the feelings go deeper – many people dread the holidays due to anxiety, stress, or past loss. This season of life can even be a recipe for burn-out and exhaustion for many of us.
Self-care is vital year round, but during a time that is all about office parties, family events and gift-giving, it can be difficult to carve out the time to focus on yourself. After all, November and December is typically the time most of us are likely socializing more, spending more, doing more, eating more, and sleeping less! Wherever you may be in life, taking care of yourself first is one of the best tools you can use to be present – no pun intended – around the stress of the holiday hubbub.
Whether you fall into the camp of knowingly going into over-serving mode over the holidays, or are simply interested in taking extra good care of yourself over the next 2 months, give to yourself first in order to be physically and emotionally available to others.
Slow down and learn to say no: Although at first carving out time for you can make you feel selfish, guilty, or even irresponsible, you need to give yourself permission to do so. Try to carve out time intentionally to just be you. Learn the importance of setting boundaries. Ask yourself, what do I want to gain from these next two months? What do I value the most? How can I create the holiday season I truly want?
Practice gratitude: For some reason we really like to beat ourselves up at the end of the year for all the things we’ve done and left undone. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to be able to be able to give up the idea of a perfect holiday, with perfect parties and perfect gifts. We all want the Norman Rockwell holiday, but holding ourselves up to this type of idea can be damaging. If you can work on relinquishing these ideas, you can open yourself to experiencing greater joy in the reality of the moment you are in right now. Let go of the false illusions and celebrate the present moments.
Respect your budget: Take the time to allocate a budget for holiday gifts, events or other expenses. Once you have that number in mind, respect it. If you splurge now, you will pay even more later. And later comes a lot sooner than you think.
Unschedule: Make some room for holiday magic by not jam packing each evening and weekend with planned activities.
Give: There are so many opportunities to give back to people and organization in need. Pick something close to your heart and find a way you can contribute – whether that is through donated items, money, or time.
Trash negative thoughts
Consider how you are lucky
Remember how far you have come
Just say no – Remember that
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Fulcrum Financial Group and LPL Financial do not provide tax or legal advice.