Will everyone else eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season, while you’d rather hide your Grinchy self away until it’s the New Year? If you’re not feeling joyful and you’re dreading all the upcoming holiday festivities, how are you supposed to deal? Be honest with yourself about how you feel. And take a look at these hints on getting through it all with some grace:
Ditch what you don’t enjoy – Hate the crowds at the malls? Do your holiday shopping online. Feel like hyperventilating when you go home to visit family and talk turns to the election? Keep your visits as short as possible and have an excuse to leave early and then go do something you actually want to do.
Buy something you’ve always wanted – Spending all of your money on presents for loved ones can leave you feeling empty, just like your bank account. So clinical psychologist John E. Mayer suggests adding yourself to your gift list, too. Put some money aside to treat yourself to something you’ve been eyeing and you’ll feel better about buying for others.
Balance the scales – Make dealing with a stressful obligation easier by using a technique called piggybacking. It’s when you put something positive with the stressful obligation to help you power through, Mayer says. So if your in-laws are coming and you’re dreading the visit, buy a fancy bottle of wine for the occasion and treat yourself to a mani/pedi once they’re gone. That way your obligation becomes a lot more enjoyable.
Create an exit plan – After you get the invitation to a holiday get-together you’re not sure about, let the host know you have to leave early because of another commitment, Mayer suggests. That gives you an out if you want to go and you have freedom to stay if you’re having fun and no one needs to know your prior commitment was with your jammies and Netflix.
Stick to your usual routine – The holidays can be hectic and disrupt your regular routine, but psychiatrist Michael Ziffra says it’s important to keep your regular eating, sleeping, and exercising habits as much as possible and plan around them.
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