Don’t Over Commit: Usually if you’re the kind of person who gives a lot of themselves, you also have a difficult time saying no because you feel like you are letting people down. Give yourself a free pass. Only commit to what you are comfortable with and what you think will honestly make you happy. If you try to do too much, or to attend too many gatherings, chances are you won’t be able to be fully present at any.
Set Realistic Goals: If you’d love to volunteer this month but don’t feel you can reasonably fit it into your schedule, pick an upcoming month that works better. Giving your time is great any time of the year, and it may end up being at a time when they don’t have as many people offering. If you want to stick to a certain budget for the holidays, opt out of your work yankee swap or your friend group’s secret santa. It doesn’t mean you can’t go and socialize, while also knowing that you are taking care of yourself financially as well.
Make Time for Self-Care: Let’s be honest. If your idea of self-care is the ten minute shower you take every other day, you are in need of some relaxation time of your own. Set aside some time (whether it means asking your spouse to handle baking cookies for your neighbor’s party, or getting your niece to babysit for a few hours) spent in a way that you know helps you to feel relaxed. For some, it may be getting a massage, for others, going on a long run or grabbing coffee with a friend.
Take Stock of Your Mental Health: As an additional gift to yourself this holiday, it’s important to check in to see how you’re feeling emotionally. If you’ve been feeling down, extremely worried or anxious, or feel like you are reaching for drugs or alcohol to help get through each day, it may be in your interest to learn if something more is going on. Free, anonymous screenings are offered 24/7 at http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org. Once you complete the screening, you’ll receive your results and information about local mental health resources.
Give yourself the best give of all this holiday season: the freedom to be imperfect, to attend only the gatherings that won’t leave you feeling stressed, time to care and nurture yourself, and the knowledge that you are checking in and prioritizing your mental health.