While your mind is probably racing with all the things that need to be done for the holidays remember, you matter too! Try to keep these things in mind during the festivities to keep a healthy holiday mindset.
1. Money isn’t everything.
You’ve probably heard this a million and one times, and yet here you are buying presents for seemingly everyone and every event. There are alternatives to buying gifts for people. You can try making homemade gifts (knitting or crocheting accessories, making jewelry, Christmas cards, etc.). If you’re not exactly into the whole DIY approach, remember that acts of kindness are a gift themselves! You can find some ideas below:
- make a “Free Hug” coupon for a friend of family member
- thank your teachers or coworkers
- donate toys to your favorite charity
- tell a silly joke to make someone laugh (you can find a list of wholesome humor here)
- do chores for someone in your household
- call or text someone out of the blue to let them know you’re thinking of them
- let someone go ahead of you in line
- open the door for someone
- pick up litter
- feed the birds (possibly take a friend with you for an outing)
- deliver supplies to housing shelters
- send a Christmas card to a Canadian Armed Forces Member (instructions to do so are here)
A DIY or act of kindness gift may mean more than any amount of money spend on a gift.
2. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers and understand your limits.
There are times when you just know that something may not be fun or helpful to your well-being. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every activity. Sometimes, if it’s not possible to say no (for example a family party your parents require you to attend), leave yourself time to practice mindfulness and focus on the positive points of the holidays. Plan ahead and leave yourself time to take a breather and take a few minutes to do an activity just for yourself to reduce stress.
Shopping during the holidays can also be overwhelming. If you know that you may get nervous or anxious being in crowded places, plan your shopping times to avoid the rush of people. You may want to do your shopping in the mornings or the middle of the week. You can also do more online shopping, if you’re able to. Recognizing the activities that make you feel negatively about the holidays can help you offset them and know what to do to reduce your stress.
To help prevent the strains of burning out during the holidays, don’t forget healthy habits. Healthy snacks before parties can help prevent you from going hard on the tempting sweets and other treats at holiday parties. Also don’t forget the basics: plenty of sleep and regular physical activity!
3. Help is out there.
Reaching out is incredibly important during this time of year. If you feel lonely or isolated, you can seek out community or other social events. Volunteering can also help raise your mood and help others in the process. If you’re committed to doing some shopping or preparing for a dinner, see if you can split up the tasks with family members or friends. There are times when you may want or need to seek out professional help, and that’s totally fine! You can get support through a number of resources online, over phone, or in-person. For young people ages 12-24, you can see if you have a Foundry centre near you to access services.
This time of year can be very hard on some people, and your feelings are always valid. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! We also have a few tips to help you with talking to someone to get you started. All of us from Foundry hope you have a great holiday season!
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