Tis’ the season for holiday fun, but also holiday stress! During this time of the year, balancing life between traveling, party invites, family, and having the kids at home on winter break can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for the season using the DBT ABC PLEASE skill:
- Find the Joy in the Chaos: Getting wrapped up in the to-do’s of the holiday can blind us from what is really important to us and cause us to miss out on the small joys of the season. Take a mindful minute and notice how magical all the lights are when they twinkle at night, find gratitude for the time spent with family, being able to pass down family traditions to your children, and even the little joys like holiday movies and your favorite holiday treats.
- Cope Ahead: Try not to blindly jump into the season. Planning ahead not just for airline tickets or dinners, but also for possible emotional distress. This might mean staying at a hotel rather than at a family’s home to help with those relationships that can be overwhelming for long periods of time, plan breaks for yourself and family so both of you can relax, take an extra day off, and set boundaries when needed.
- Make Sure You are Okay Physically: When stress is high, so is the cortisol in our system, which can compromise the immune system. If you start to feel sick, make sure you check in with your doctor and take the appropriate steps in maintaining your health. When our physical health is off, so is our emotional health.
- Find Balance in Your Food: Make sure you do not skip meals. Being busy does not mean your body does not need its fuel. If you are going to be prepping a meal all day, set time aside to eat. If you are traveling for long periods of time, make sure to pack snacks. Set meal times when hosting family as it can be easy to get distracted and eat meals later than intended, leaving you overly hungry. Enjoy your holiday treats and don’t forget about the rest of the food groups! When we find balance in our meals, we also find balance in our emotional health!
- Be Mindful of Alcohol Intake: Substances like alcohol have an effect on our emotions and can affect how we feel the day after, creating an emotional hangover. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family, however, alcohol can become problematic when drinking to avoid or mask emotions.
- Get Some Sleep: Schedules can get jumbled during this time, so try to make sure you are getting enough hours of sleep. If you will be out late one night, make sure the next morning’s schedule doesn’t carry an early start. Remember, it is okay to say no and take care of yourself. Over sleeping is just as ineffective as sleeping too little. If you are enjoying some time off, try to relax, minimize nap times, and remember a power nap is around 20 mins, and anything over an hour will affect your night’s sleep.
Get Moving!: Find activities for you and your family that get you moving. Go on walks and enjoy the weather change, take an exercise class together and play outdoors. There are so many things to do that can get the whole family moving! Moving our bodies helps us feel better and exercising produces endorphins and boosts energy!