Managing Holiday Madness
Holidays can drive a guy absolutely insane: mandatory social calls, money worries, and having your soul revert to that of an elementary school child— no matter what your age—because you’re suddenly back with family members. Indeed, holidays can add so much stress that many people find themselves depressed during this season.
Needless to say, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We asked Michael Moniz, a life coach focusing on the LGBT community, and Kendra Fried, a board-certified holistic health and nutrition counselor, for their suggestions on adding comfort and joy to your life over the next two weeks.
Just Say “No!”
The world won’t end if you don’t agree to every “obligation”—which probably isn’t that important anyway. Write down everything you think is a “must do” and prioritize, giving emphasis to events you know you’ll enjoy. This concept also applies to purchases.
“Set limits,” Monitz says. “Decide how many parties you will attend, what your gift budget is, how many cards you will send, etc.. If you are going to the party, buying the gift, or sending the card because you want to, then do it. If you are doing it because you feel you have to, then don't.”
Give Real Gifts
There’s no rule that says you “have” to give a physical gift, so skip it and give of yourself instead. Fried suggests putting a love letter in your partner’s stocking, donating to a cause your loved-one cares about, or hosting a “no gift” potluck.
You can also “create your own traditions: gazing at lights, going to a play, ice skating, [or] cooking a favorite dish,” she says. “Anything at all that brings you deep joy, a sense of peace, and time to breathe.”
Take a Breather
When faced with a tension-filled situation, take a second to breath. Fried instructs, “Breathe into the ‘now’—feel your feet on the ground, feel breath rising in your belly—and realize that often your old issues are being triggered. Have a mantra or comforting reminder that you can say to yourself to bring you back to the present moment.” Fried suggests having this breath/mantra resource in place before showing up to a potentially stressful event.
This time of year compels us to take stock of our lives, and in the process we often compare it to other people’s. Stop that! “When we compare ourselves to others we only look at what they have that we want. We never think about all they don't have that we have,” says Moniz. Self-improvement is great, but obsessing over how someone is more successful, in better shape, or happier than you does nothing to improve your life. In fact, it only hinders you from helping yourself.
“Make sure your life is what you want it to be,” Monitz says, suggesting you look at things you want to work on for improvement. “Focus on all you have and how blessed you are.”
Remember the Love
“You should be doing this all year long but especially around the holidays,” Monitz says, pointing out that the best way to beat the holiday blues is having people you love around you. Phone calls, e-mails, and IM/webcam chats can help you feel connected. And if you are feeling down, don’t hide away. “This just feeds the blues. Talk to people who you love, make you smile and make you laugh.”
Practice Safe Supping
Don’t go so crazy with our culture’s need to enjoy holiday dishes that you end up feeling guilty or in physical pain afterwards. “Partake of festive foods in moderation,” Fried says, adding to watch consumption of alcohol, white sugar, refined and processed foods, and caffeine because they can all affect your body and moods. “Try crowding them out with healthier options: green or herbal teas, natural sweeteners like agave nectar or honey, and whole grain pastas. Drink less alcohol and stay hydrated by having a glass of water for every cocktail or glass of wine.”
Give Yourself a Gift
This doesn’t need to be a physical item (though that’s fun, too), but think about the things you enjoy and set aside time to do them. Whether it’s watching TV, going on a physical trip, or just taking a nap every day— make yourself a priority. That’s the secret to having a successful holiday break.