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less stressful holiday season

Your Mindful Guide to a Less Stressful Holiday Season

Thanksgiving 2020 is just behind us, which means the winter holidays are racing toward us at a breakneck pace. The holiday season always brings unique stresses and emotional challenges, and this year might be especially complicated due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What can you do to enjoy a calmer, less stressful holiday season?

1. Understand Your Limits

If you’re the sort of person who feels guilty about saying no to others, even when you’re already overwhelmed, you might add far too much to your plate around this time of year. Accepting every invitation to a virtual holiday party or carrying on your annual holiday tradition of baking for hours might stress you to your breaking point.

Even though you may be somewhat restricted in what you and your family can safely do this holiday season, you could still want to please everyone all the time. Nobody expects you to be perfect – especially during this year, which has been so hard on us all. Be mindful about when you need to recharge your mental and emotional batteries, and give yourself enough time and space to do so. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary for you to rejuvenate and renew your enthusiasm so you can be there for others.

2. Remember the Reason Behind the Season

Commercialism, coupled with the pressure we put on ourselves to find the ideal gifts for others, might cause you to lose sight of the spirit of joy and sharing that should characterize the holidays. An essential part of having a less stressful holiday season could be regaining the sense of wonder you used to have during this time of year.

Drive around and enjoy looking at the twinkling lights and festive yard decorations your neighbors have put up. Play your favorite holiday songs while you challenge your family to a cookie-decorating contest. Enjoy trimming a tree with the brightest ornaments you can find. Whether your traditions are religious or secular, mindfully reflect on your reasons for celebrating this season and end the year on a positive note.  

3. Be Grateful for What You Have

The global pandemic has created a type of collective trauma that mental health professionals have cautioned it may take years to come to terms with. Even if you have been fortunate enough not to lose a friend or loved one to COVID-19, you may still be mourning lost opportunities, missing your pre-pandemic routine and yearning for a return to normalcy.

Instead of focusing on what you lack or things you can’t do, take a mindful approach to gratitude for what you still have. For instance, perhaps being quarantined at home brought you and your family closer together. Maybe you found a new work-from-home job that’s allowed you to have a more flexible schedule. Make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for – no matter how small – and meditate on it.

Have a Less Stressful Holiday Season

If holiday anxiety is weighing you down and you’ve been relying on drugs or alcohol to cope, it’s time to seek treatment. Residential, holistic addiction treatment at Vista Taos Renewal Center can help you make a fresh start. Contact us today to verify your insurance and learn more about our programs and amenities.

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