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  • Writer's pictureaquariuscounseling

6 tips to survive the holiday season.

Let's face it, the holidays can be a very difficult time of the year for many people. Whether you're married, in a relationship, or alone, navigating "family time" (whatever that means to you) can bring up stress and anxiety that no one likes to walk through. Feeling depressed and/or anxious is not unusual during the holiday season, with attempts at finding balance between dinner, parties, or other family/friends gatherings. Things get even tougher if you're navigating the holidays after divorce, death of a loved one, or if you're a long distance from who you call family. I've had my own struggles when it comes to holidays, especially since I'm the single one in the family (at age 43) and is without a +1 in sight or even around the corner. Here are a few tips I've found to navigate the holiday stress as I count down to the freshness of a new year.

1. Be REALISTIC!! ~~ Many of use try to do too many things or see too many people during the holiday season. This can cause undue stress and anxiety in ourselves and for those around us. Don't try to see everyone; identify who is important for you to connect with and focus your efforts there.

2. Keep a routine! ~~ If you're anything like me, being out of your element can lead to feeling "out of sorts". If you're routine at home is to exercise in the morning, find ways to keep that routine during the during the holiday season. Granted, you might need to get creative but remember the things of you "home routine" and do what you can to create a "I'm away for the holidays but still need my routine" routine :-)

3. Everything in MODERATION! ~~ Eating too much or drinking too much during the holidays can bring unwanted negative self-statements, which only serve at making you feel like poo about yourself. Save yourself that headache and remind yourself to not overdo it. One is good, but 4 doesn't always equal a good thing for mind, body, or spirit. Easy does it ~ and if you chose to have that extra serving of pumpkin pie (and who wouldn't!), go easy on yourself.

4. Throw guilt out the window! ~~ Remember, you don't have to be a certain way, attend a certain number of gatherings, or be a certain mood. If you're not feeling festive, be honest about it instead of trying to put on a mask as you try to convince others you're having a great time (especially if your body language is saying something different).

5. It's OK to say no. ~~ As I tell many clients of mine, "no" is a complete sentence. While holidays are for family, friends, or honoring your past year, it is OK to not say yes to everything! If being around family brings out unhealthy patterns, or you struggle with boundaries, it is OK to say no. If you struggle with that, or the idea of saying "no" makes you cringe, think of possible middle ground that would allow you to honor yourself while being available to those you're around.

6. Be good to yourself! ~~ I know this will sound selfish, but if you don't take care of yourself, who? Hmmm? I recommend spending a little time each day doing something for yourself: take a bubble bath, go for a walk, cook yourself a meal, read a book. Holidays can be a time to reflect of the year past, things that have changed, how you've changed, and spending time in gratitude and celebrating with those you love ~ and who love you back!

The holidays come once a year ~ may you find a balance that works for you and allow you space to focus on what matters in your life. May your stress be low and your peace/joy be high! Have a wondeful holiday season.

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