If you’re not stressed out or suffer at least mild anxiety disorder or depression around now, I’m going to have to assume you’re on vacation. Or maybe you’re just out on an extended lunch that requires cutting off from the outside world, in which case I’m a tiny bit jealous.
It’s difficult for me to fathom how else you might avoid the cyclical media assault we’ve come to expect as winter approaches, or the rush to get everything done by a particular magic date, depending upon your background. By the time January 1 comes around, I’m ready for a social detox.
However, I do believe there is a way to focus on the joy as opposed to the hype. I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to have fun even though the pressure is most definitely on to spend money you may not have and cook more than you’d ordinarily care to, and entertain with the high expectations of your guests looming large.
Here are some tips to get you through. You may think it requires additional work and time you don’t have to keep yourself in check, but aren’t you worth it? Prevention is quite useful in this instance, rather than slipping into crisis mode or giving into the mania only to pay the price later. There’s no good reason for pushing yourself to the limit so that your own needs go up in smoke on the back burner.
All it takes is a bit of mindfulness to instill these self-care tactics. You’ll be glad you did.
- Make realistic goals. Don’t stack your obligations so high that they’re out of balance. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be all things to all people. However, it’s just not realistic and can lead to an array of issues with negative outcomes, such as depression and anxiety, which can eventually lead to melt-downs or complete break-downs. Get organized and make lists rather than relying on your memory, which can compound stress. Why not allow yourself to ride a wave of brutal realism and cross unnecessary things off the list before you even get to them. If you set out to do what’s most important, you’ll be happier and less harried by the beginning of the New Year.
- Put yourself in the equation. While much emphasis is placed on giving, don’t forget about taking time to do what you need to do to keep yourself happily engaged, including making sure your basic needs are being met. Do as many things as possible that inspire as much happiness as possible. Approach your work in an organized, orderly way without disregarding your true feelings and beliefs. Easier said than done, but necessary. For instance, don’t eliminate healthy eating, exercise and sleep from your to-do list. Resist the urge to forego your basic needs, especially solid sleep, in order to get things done. If you do, no one will ever suffer for it more than you.
- Ask for help. If you don’t expect to do everything yourself, no one else will expect you to. While it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, there’s something to be said for delegating. Some of us may decide it’s easier to do everything ourselves, even though we don’t necessarily want to. Those who chip in may even take pleasure in doing so, and appreciate you making them feel useful and putting your trust in them. This leads to positive feelings like deeper friendship and camaraderie. Taking on too much only leads to resentment and other negative feelings that can ruin everyone’s fun.
- Seek professional help. If the kind of help you need is professional, based on emotional needs or the current state of your mental health, it’s time to get it. It’s possible that you’ve been hiding your feelings and needs for so long that no one else around you recognizes your suffering. There is no reward in suffering alone. In fact, there is help and nurturing available if you want it. The real possibility of changing your life for the better exists and is there for you when you make the decision. Stop thinking you’re not worthy or can’t afford it or can’t have it for any other fabricated reason. You only get one life. Why not make it the best it can possibly be? Time spent in rehab is a chance at a new beginning and a happier, more fulfilled version of your best self. This year, give yourself the gift of the help you need.