Staying Sane Through the Holidays

As soon as I typed the title above, I thought to myself: maybe I'm not the best person to be writing a blogpost about staying sane...

Oh well. I'm all you've got.

The holidays are crazy for many reasons. Family togetherness can make us crazy. Too much shopping, spending money, wrapping gifts, writing cards, mailing stuff, and baking can make us crazy. Cooking multiple course meals for people on a variety of different diets can make us crazy. And I just learned this morning on Facebook that this Christmas will also be a full moon. That should definitely add some fuel to the fire of craziness.

How on earth can anyone remain calm and carry on through this season of insanity?

1) Reduce expectations. Or, if possible, eliminate expectations. Often we build up the holidays in our minds ahead of time. We think everyone should be acting jolly and have no worries in the world. This is not reality. At least in my world, things go wrong. Cookies burn, gifts don't show up on time, people turn their noses up at those meals I slaved over, and nothing ever stays clean.

2) Take time for yourself. Too much family togetherness can make for some grumpy interactions. At least in my family, people like their space. Have a meal together, or an outing, or watch a DVD, but don't expect everyone to want to be together 24/7. Take time apart. Take a hot bath or a nap. Go for a walk alone. Do what you need.

3) Remember that Facebook and all social media sites are fake news. All those happy pictures of other families are lies. No family is perfect. Don't compare your family or your holidays with anyone else's. That is a quick way to go insane.

4) Pick and choose. Don't stress yourself out by trying to do too much. If preparing an entire feast for twenty guests is not your thing, arrange to eat out instead. Overscheduling is another way to go insane. Make time for the activities that matter most to you and your loved ones, and let the rest go.

5) Practice gratitude. Instead of looking at what is going wrong, remember all the things that are going right. There is always much to appreciate if you slow down and breathe.

The holidays can be difficult for many people. If this is you, you are not alone. If you're feeling down, there is help out there. Please reach out.