5 Steps to Surviving the Holidays

While the Holidays can be full of cookie-baking, sledding, and family-gathering fun, they can also be EXHAUSTING and STRESSFUL! Here are five steps to coping with financial stressors, frustrating family members, and general Scrooge-iness.

Surviving the Holidays:

  1. Take time for yourself. I mean really, take a breather! No matter what time of day, where ever you are, step away from the chaos, the noise, the energy (whether positive or negative). Give yourself a five minute time out in a quiet, preferably softly-lit room. Even if this means going to the bathroom and risking people thinking you got stuck in the toilet! Taking these moments is called recharging, and they are essential to keep going when being around people and busyness are a frequent theme this time of year.
  2. Practice saying “No.” You may find yourself invited to an exponential number of parties, gatherings, gift exchanges, even events designed to give back to others in need. It’s ok to filter through all the options and choose only those things that are really meaningful to you and that you will remember fondly. If there is any sense of obligation or you find yourself dragging your feet to respond or are dreading going, don’t. Things lose meaning when they feel forced or obligatory; isn’t that the total opposite of the intent behind all these celebrations?
  3. Choose you, choose joy. What’s the point if it doesn’t bring you joy? Why waste your precious time on things that don’t feel good? I’m giving you permission right now to start practicing noticing what feels good and right for you and you alone. The idea of selfishness gets such a bad wrap. But valuing yourself and your needs is essential to finding joy. Pay attention to YOU, and seek happiness through making choices that benefit you (and share your needs with others so they can support you, too!).  ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?!
  4. Set boundaries. Again, you don’t need to say “Yes” to everything – people will still like you, and RESPECT you. If you’ve been feeling particularly hurt by something or someone recently, set emotional boundaries. Consider if you NEED to carry around that resentment. Can you set it down? Can you practice choosing not to let that snarky comment from your (insert the name of the passive aggressive person in your life here) penetrate your bubble. Let it roll and choose not to pick up the stinky crap (for lack of a better descriptor) they’re laying down for you to step in and track throughout your life. Also, feel free to set boundaries with those who are visiting your home or spending time with your kiddos (if you have little sticky-fingered germ-spreading elves). It’s your home, they’re your munchkins – you set the rules!
  5. Decide what matters most to you. Take this time to think about your New Year’s resolution. What will you do in 2016 to make yourself more of a priority, to find joy, and to practice authenticity? Consider making a list of those things that are important to you and make a promise to yourself to honor and follow through.


BONUS: Take 30 seconds to stare at the adorable photo of the little puppy (above)… I mean, c’mon, who can can feel green like the Grinch while looking at that little scrunchy, wrinkly face!!


Written by Lauren Robbins, MS, LPCC, LADC