Harder Than Usual

This holiday season, man. It feels like there has been a full moon every night since Thanksgiving. My life feels out of control at times and harder to manage this in years past. Not only does it seem this way for me but also everyone else I’ve spoken to. The increased stress levels, prominent feelings of grief, poor time management, and lack of self-care are running rampant amongst my clients, coworkers, family, and friends.

I have a few theories as to why this year is more difficult. It could be that it is the first time since 2019 that we are back to “normal” and at full force. 2020 was a complete wash with limited events and obligations. You couldn’t even have more than ten people at most gatherings let alone a full blown parade. Although a bit less restricted, 2021’s holiday season saw a huge spike in COVID-19 cases with similar anxiety to 2020. With pandemic fatigue and vaccinations, 2022 brough the holidays back into the spotlight.

I partly attribute the holidays woes to overexposure too. Now that people can go back out into public, go shopping, and be in large groups again, triggers are everywhere. I have another piece I wrote a while back all about triggers this time of year. Feel free to check it out here:

Here are some tips on how to better manage the holidays:

  1. Stay organized. It is so easy to get scatterbrained this time of year. I have some sort of obligation every weekend from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. This is in addition to my two jobs and caring for a family. I literally took fifteen minutes before bed one night and wrote down every major category in my life. Under each category, I jotted down tasks that needed to be completed. It honestly just helped to get it out of my head and onto something tangible. It have been updating as I finish tasks and add when something new pops up. This also includes keeping your calendar updated.
  2. Don’t overdo it. Seriously, keep it as simple as possible. It is likely that you will be invited to multiple events on the same day. You need to wrap gifts, but you were invited to build gingerbread houses with your cousin who you haven’t seen in three years. You need to see little Bobby play a dreidel in for thirty seconds in the annual school play. Whatever the case may be, don’t feel bad for saying no. There is a lot going on this time of year, and there is only one of you.
  3. Take time to decompress. If you are feeling like anyone I’ve spoken to recently, you are or have been overwhelmed. Build time into your schedule to relax. I know that it is easier said than done this time of year, but it doesn’t have to be a full day excursion at the local spa. I literally mean to add in an hour here and there to relax. I would recommend either before bed to calm yourself down or first thing in the morning to build yourself into the day.
  4. Don’t neglect the basics. Stress often attacks our basic necessities first. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep, eating right, and staying hydrated. I promise it makes a huge difference in your ability to take on the beast we call the holidays.
  5. Have fun. Do not forget the most important part. Enjoy yourself. In between all of the running around, worry, and stress, there are moments to be savored. Spend time with your friends and family. Be kind to others. Be in the present during a time of year that brings the best out of people.

-The Caring Counselor

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