It’s December again, and we bet you can feel your tinsel tangling as you read this! This month can be a busy one full of social engagements, shopping excursions, and long lists of chores (ugh!). It can also be a lonely month that is challenging for your mental health. With all that swirling around you, it is easy to get overwhelmed and overextended. Here are six helpful tips to help you prioritize your self care and manage stress during the holiday season. 

Be Proactive About Your Mental Health

Stress levels can peak in December. This can be the case whether you are spending a quiet holiday alone or surrounded by people, places and a mile-long task list. It can be taxing to your mental health and leave you mentally exhausted by the new year. This is a great time to take proactive steps to fortify your mental health. If you know you are prone to drowning in the stress of the month, try to work a few of these self care elements into your routine:

  • Schedule an appointment with your therapist this month
  • Establish a meditation schedule
  • Practice regular gratitude and acts of kindness
  • Do fun things not related to the holiday
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Eat healthy food and stay hydrated

Adding a few of these things to your month can boost your mood and keep you steady throughout the holiday madness. 

Plan Ahead if You Are Traveling

Nothing is quite as stressful as traveling in December. If you have plans to head out of town, be sure you take the time to adequately plan for your trip. Last minute packing and unclear plans cause a tremendous amount of stress. Make a packing list, create a travel itinerary and review your reservations. If it all goes sideways, be sure you have a back up plan and are ready for possible delays and cancellations.

Click here for a FREE travel checklist to keep you organized as you plan for travel.

Get Some Sleep

Do your best to stay on a regular sleep schedule during the month. With all the social engagements and additional tasks on your list it can be easy to let your ZZZs slip. All that stress can also cause your cortisol levels to disrupt your sleep, so try to de-stress as best as you can before your head hits the pillow. Soft music, reading prior to sleep, and avoiding screen time will all help you maximize your ability to get a great night’s rest. 

Know Your Limits

It is easy to overindulge in the merriment of the season and be full of regret afterwards. Know your limits when it comes to food, drink, and parties. Shame and guilt never feel good, and you can get ahead of those feelings when you establish some limits for how you celebrate the season. This might be a great time to have a chat with a friend about being an “accountability buddy” to keep you honest when the fun gets really fun

You Are Not Alone

No doubt about it, December can be a lonely month. Maybe you are not into the holiday or maybe it feels like a constant reminder that you don’t have a lot of friends or family. It’s not an easy time to miss the things you have lost or dwell on the things you think are lacking in your life. 

Please know that you are not alone and you do not have to bear the burden of this month alone. Reach out to a professional or call a hotline to talk about how you are feeling and connect with another human. Talking to others and sharing those feelings will help you cope and feel less alone. Remember it will always get better!

Choose Your Company

Who you choose to spend your time with this month will determine your mood and affect your stress level. If you know that a trip to see the in-laws is going to send you over the edge, put some parameters in place to manage that situation. If your sister drives you nuts, limit how much time you spend together this month. And if the neighbors are a hoot and boost your mood, plan a party and have a merry time. Company matters and it can make or break a holiday season. Choose wisely!

With these tips, we know you can have a happy and healthy December. We wish you a stress-free, jolly holiday season!