7 Strategies to Stay Sane (and Be Happier) This Holiday Season

Posted by on December 5, 2017 in Conscious Living, Happiness & Humor, Thrive with 0 Comments

By Brigid Elsken Galloway | Tiny Buddha

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~Sonia Ricotti

It’s that time of year again. The fresh scent of an evergreen fills the house. Strains of “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” permeate the airwaves. Once again, I unpack the fragile, ceramic Santa that I made as a gift for my mom when I was five. Suddenly, I’m transported back in time—for better or for worse.

The holidays should be joyous times filled with family and friends, but sometimes the very traditions that give meaning to this season also trigger old fears, hurts, and anxieties. (And if you’re prone to Season Affective Disorder (SAD), the lack of warmth and sunshine can zap your goodwill toward men, and women, too.)

Then last year—after lots of recovery and mindfulness practice—I determined to navigate the holidays in a healthier manner. I decided to accept the reality of my Christmas crazies and choose to respond differently when things (inevitably) became stressful.

Since I was so good at making lists of gifts to buy others and errands to run and obligations to fulfill, why not make a list of ways to manage my emotional well-being? If you’re like me and tend to succumb to the holiday crazies, these strategies may help maintain your sanity, too.

1. Stock up on sanity savers.

When I went through my divorce, my therapist had me make a list of things—such as taking a hot bubble bath or calling a good friend—to do when I became anxious. Even when I’m not in all-out crisis mode, this form of self-care helps me maintain a more peaceful perspective. By thinking of these soothing activities ahead of time, I know exactly what to do when stressful situations appear.

2. Reel in expectations.

Repeat after me: “There is no such thing as a perfect holiday.” Something will go wrong. My brother-in-law will say something inappropriate at the family dinner. Gifts will get lost in the mail. The turkey will be raw in the middle. The ornaments will not all be evenly spaced on the tree—and it will be okay.

3. Keep a meltdown journal.

When something or someone inevitably pushes my buttons, I make note of it in my “meltdown” journal. I include details about what occurred before my meltdown and record if I was hungry, tired, lonely, or hormonal. Writing it all down helps me recognize patterns and also serves as a safe way to vent my frustrations.

4. Check motives at the door.

Do not, I repeat, do not give anything to anyone if you expect so much as a “thank you” in return. Seriously. One of the worst holiday meltdowns I’ve had in recent years was when a friend didn’t express (what I felt was) the proper amount of gratitude for my gift. This year, my presents may be decorated with ribbons, but they will not come with strings attached.

5. Own your inner Grinch.

If you’re feeling cranky because it seems like you always give more than your receive, or visa versa, set a limit for spending or call a truce on personal gift-giving. My very generous friends and I did this years ago, and it immediately improved my holiday spirit because I didn’t have to fret that my Christmas gifts were “good” enough.


Tags: , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.

Send this to a friend