Christmas can bring so much joy — with family gatherings, thoughtful gifts, and meals shared with loved ones. However, they can also trigger many different and difficult emotions.

If you seem to struggle through the holidays each year, try some of these ways to keep your calm — and maybe actually enjoy yourself!

Take care of yourself by:

1: Taking time for yourself.

With so many parties and holiday hubbub, you can find yourself being constantly surrounded by others and Christmas obligations.

Always make sure you include room for quiet and alone time in your schedule. This may be difficult if you find yourself travelling home or elsewhere for the holidays – but it can be done! Find a quiet space and allow yourself to just decompress.

2: Remembering to breathe.

Social anxiety is a real thing, and the holidays are its prime time.

You might fret about all the social interactions and family expectations, so it’s important to remember to breathe. More than that, it’s important to breathe ON PURPOSE. If your heart is beginning to race and your breathing is speeding up, it’s a good time to tune into your breath and start intentionally slowing it down.

Allow yourself a moment to let go of holiday stress, and focus on breathing in and out — deeply and slowly.

3: Monitoring drug and alcohol use.

At holiday parties, the alcohol usually flows freely. And you might be tempted to use drugs and alcohol to help take the edge off.

Make sure you’re really mindful if you do choose to partake of these substances. Make sure you set a limit that is healthy and realistic. Have an accountability partner at every party if staying within your limit is something you struggle with.

4: Keeping your relationship with food healthy.

The pressure to stuff your face during holidays is subtle (and sometimes not so subtle). Make sure you have balance with the food that you choose to consume.

By all means, enjoy the Christmas treats! But make sure you also fuel your body with the nutrients it actually needs. And make sure you’re eating the right amount! Eating too much (or the wrong kind) of food can take the same toll on your body as drugs and alcohol.

Remember, that as much as you don’t want to hurt your grandma’s feelings, you also need to respect your body — and you only need to eat the things you really want or need.

5: Setting boundaries.

Christmas can often mean close quarters with family members you don’t often spend time with. If these family members have hurt you in the past, this time can be uncomfortable.

Monitor the family dynamics and try to recognize your triggers. Consider asking someone to be available for a quick phone chat if you need some support.

6: Making sure you get your sleep!

Few things have the ability to constantly mess with someones physical and emotional state like chronic sleeplessness.

When you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’ll gain weight easier, feel more irritable, and even feel more stressed. Your ability to cope will decrease significantly. If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, cut back on caffeine (and don’t have ANY after 2 pm). Resist the urge to nap during the day — even if everyone else sprawls out after a large meal.

Additionally, resist eating any treats or leftovers a few hours before bed! This way you won’t have any indigestion, heartburn, or sugar headaches keeping you up.

Remember, the holidays are just a season. Before you know it, they’ll be gone. So try to remain present and grateful. Remember to focus on the people you love, and the things that really matter.


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