Self-Care Rules for the Christmas Holiday


Christmas can be busy, fun, tiring, bittersweet, beautiful, tacky, a happy anticipation, rife with expectations, surprising, disappointing, spiritual, commercial, joyful, and sad.

We want the holiday to be a good time, but life does not always cooperate. The holidays become even trickier to navigate if we are depressed, anxious, or prone to either.

Although it helps to go with the flow during a Christmas celebration, there are also things we can do to give ourselves the best experience possible. It’s a matter of accepting what cannot be controlled, and taking control where we can.

Five Holiday Self-Care Rules

  1. You do not have to feel happy during the Christmas celebration. Although you do not want to rain on other’s happiness or enjoyment, you can feel whatever you feel, acknowledge it to yourself, and be OK with it.

    Emotions and feelings come and go. It’s normal to feel happy and then blah, and then content, and then maybe sad. If you are happy the entire holiday, consider that to be normal too.
  2. Your family members will push the same buttons they have always pushed, and you will push theirs as well. Unless most of your family has been through family therapy, it will be disappointing to expect things to be otherwise.

    Before reacting to your pushed buttons, ask yourself what you want the result of the day to be. It may not be the best time to confront someone that bugs you.
  3. If you typically feel let down or depressed after the Christmas holiday, plan ahead. Have some enjoyable, preferably social activities planned for the following week nights, or weekend. If you have time off work, keep your favorite things to do at hand (i.e., books, baking ingredients, knitting yarn, crayons).

    Feel the disappointment without judging yourself but also avoid isolating if you are prone to depression.
  4. Give yourself permission to take a break from the festivities when you need to. Go for a walk, sit in a quiet room, pretend you have an errand to run and drive around for a bit. Or, put on those new noise-canceling headphones and listen to your favorite music.

    Some people are energized by noise and constant activity. Others of us need some quiet to recharge our batteries and there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to do that.
  5. Before you put another candy cane or cookie in your mouth, ask yourself how you want to feel during the night, or the next day. There are usually so many treats to eat during the holiday, but it might be more important to sleep well than eat too well.

    If you are depressed or anxious, large amounts of sugar are not the wisest choice. Enjoy, but do what you can to feel the best that you can.


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