For some of us, the holiday season is nothing but joyous. We get to spend more time than usual with family and friends, dress up for festive holiday parties, indulge in cookies, eggnog, and latkes, and give love-filled gifts to our families.
But for others, the holidays are just flat-out difficult. Whether you lost someone you love, have a hard time keeping up with the pressure (financial or otherwise) of gift-buying and receiving, or have a difficult relationship with your family, we see you—but please know that there's a lot you can do to make the holiday season a little easier on yourself.
Don't believe us? We put together a holiday survival guide. Here's what to keep in mind as we head into the holiday season.
Your Holiday Survival Guide
1. Stay off social media
Social media is an endless scroll of people living their absolute best lives, and the holiday season is ripe for that. In the months of November and December, it seems like people exclusively post pictures of their festive houses and holiday decor, sparkly outfits, and perfect families. So, if the holidays aren't your favorite, do yourself a favor and take apps like Instagram and Facebook off your phone. They'll always be there for you to re-download in January.
2. Make a plan for any days that trigger you
If you know that Thanksgiving, one or a few of the nights of Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or anything else you celebrate is especially triggering for you, make a plan for that day. Take yourself to the movies, order in, have a full-blown self-care day full of binge-reading (or binge-watching!), and if you have friends or family members you want to spend time with around, do something with them. With enough planning, you may just find that those days are a little bit easier for you.
3. Prioritize your health
The holiday season is famous for being a time of a lot of indulgence and very little physical movement. But it doesn't have to be that way, and you may find that if you prioritize your physical health, your mental health will follow. Do your best to eat nutrient-rich meals, move your body and in a way that brings you joy, and get enough sleep. Bonus points if you want to throw meditation into the mix, too.
Make healthy eating and exercise a priority.
Journaling has a handful of proven mental and physical health benefits, so taking the time to write out your feelings—or write about anything at all—will help you cope and make the season feel a little lighter.
5. Make your home extra cozy
If you hate the holidays, holiday decor may not be your favorite thing ever. But that doesn't mean you can't take the time to make your home extra cozy and somewhere where you want to spend a lot of time, especially because you likely have some time off of work. Invest in a cozy throw blanket (essential for binge watches), buy some fancy tea, and if you have a fireplace, build a fire. And hey, don't knock the scented candle! There's nothing cozier than a scented candle, in our opinion. We're fans of this one.
Scented candles can help make your home feel extra cozy.
6. Make yourself a good playlist
Skip the holiday tunes and make yourself a playlist that leaves you feeling relaxed and joyful. It can be full of songs that help you wind down, songs that make you want to dance, songs that put a smile on your face, or all three. If you want to add a few songs that help you get a good cry in, by all means, go for it.
7. Go on vacation
If you have the financial means, plan a vacation for yourself. This can be a solo trip or a trip with friends or family members, and it can be as simple as a night away or as extravagant as a trip abroad. The sky's the limit, so dream big! There's nothing wrong with a staycation, either.
Use the time off of work to take a vacation.
8. Try to avoid alcohol (or at least don't overdo it)
Alcohol is a depressant, so although you may be inclined to get a little tipsy here and there, dealing with regular hangover until January 1st is generally not recommended. Try swapping the wine for herbal tea every now and then, and you'll probably find that you're a lot happier for it.
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