The holidays can be an exciting time — this usually means time off from school or work and the chance to relax! It can also mean traveling to spend time with friends and family and celebrating special traditions. With so many things to focus on over the holidays, here are three areas to concentrate on, so that you can enjoy your holiday season:
Take Care of Yourself
Mental wellness is important at all times of the year but especially during the holiday season. The cold months may affect your mental well-being more than you realize and the holiday festivities can just add to the stress. Coupled with the tendency to stay inside and inactive, the pressure to be "on" around friends and family, and the reality that you can’t always be with the ones you love, it’s no wonder we can sometimes find ourselves in a bit of a holiday funk!
Check out these few tips to help you take care of your mental health this holiday season:
#1 Recognize your patterns and take proactive steps
While it’s okay to feel how you feel, it’s important to take time to recognize patterns in yourself. By recognizing triggers, you can make proactive decisions on how to spend your time.
#2 Avoid isolation and stay connected
Being isolated can add to your feelings of loneliness. Try planning activities with loved ones instead to help you avoid isolation and unstructured time. This could be anything from a movie night at your house or trying out a new restaurant.
#3 Honor the past but don’t let it spoil the present
The holidays usually bring memories of holidays past to the forefront of your mind. Some of these things can be good, but it can also remind you of a family member who has passed or a relationship that is no more. Take time to grieve the past, but don’t let it ruin the present.
#4 Recognize that the holidays don’t last forever
These times won’t last forever. Take things day by day and be patient with yourself. However, if they do seem to extend beyond the holiday season, this could be a sign of something more serious. Please contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Handle Conflict Well to Cultivate Relationships
We love our friends and families, but sometimes they can be difficult. Not all of us agree on politics, lifestyle choices, or religion. However, that doesn’t have to put a damper on the holiday cheer.
Here are some tips to deal with difficult family members this holiday season:
#1 Anticipate areas of conflict & prepare responses ahead of time
Sometimes you need to be empathetic, and sometimes you need to shut it down when it comes to conflict. Either way, coming up with a response in advance can keep you from getting defensive or being drawn into a conversation you have no desire to be a part of.
#2 Set boundaries & pick your battles
While some issues should be addressed, other topics will only lead to more arguing. Decide ahead of time what you can and can’t compromise on, and come up with mental phrases to reassure yourself when dealing with the difficult compromises.
#3 If possible, use the buddy system
Difficult situations are usually easier when you have someone by your side. If possible, bring along a friend or significant other to family gatherings, or hang out with the family member you get along best with. Whoever it may be, use this “safe person” as a buffer.
#4 Practice being assertive
Do not feel bad about respectfully stating your needs or setting boundaries. Rather than not saying anything or angrily expressing your feelings, you can keep the lines open for healthy, open communication.
#5 If needed, remove yourself from the situation
If things get too heated, don’t hesitate to take a walk or spend a few minutes alone in another part of the house. Tempers can flare easily, and sometimes everyone just needs to take a few steps back from the situation.
#6 Know that it’s okay to say “no”
Sometimes you just need to say “no” to a family gathering, and that’s okay. Your mental and emotional well being is just as important as upholding tradition or appeasing people.
Whatever your plans are for this holiday season, if you do spend time with difficult loved ones, we hope these tips can help you have a joyful, relaxing time. And if they’re too difficult, considering giving them the gift of Conflict-Wise, our anger management course, this Christmas! Everyone can benefit from learning new strategies to manage stress. Call us at (888) 810-7990 or visit our website to find out more.
Stay Safe While Celebrating New Year’s Eve
Have any big plans for New Years? Plans for New Year’s Eve can vary greatly, from a night on the town to a party at your friends’ house, to staying or not celebrating at all. Whatever your plans, we hope you have a safe, fun start to the new year. To help ensure that, check out these tips:
If you’re planning to drink:
#1 Know what a standard drink is:
A standard drink consists of 1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 10-12 ounces of beer. On average it takes your body one hour to process one standard drink, but it varies slightly from person to person depending on your sex, height, weight, etc.
#2 Eat beforehand and drink water:
If you’re planning on drinking, eat a good meal before you go out. Additionally, snacking throughout the night can help lessen the effects of alcohol. For every drink, make sure you have a glass of water to help your body process the alcohol and to stay hydrated.
#3 Set a limit before you head out:
Set a limit of how many drinks you will have that evening. If you try to decide while you are out, you will more than likely drink more than you want to. Consider only bringing cash, so that you can’t go over the number of drinks you plan on having.
If you’re going out:
#1 Stay in a group
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, never go anywhere alone. Keep an eye on everyone in your group throughout the night. Consider having buddies for the evening.
#2 Plan ahead for rides
If you are planning on drinking, either have a designated driver or make sure you have money for a cab or other rideshare. Never drive intoxicated. Rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft often have discount codes for New Year’s Eve to encourage safe travels.
#3 Don’t accept drinks from strangers and always keep an eye on your drink
If someone you don’t know offers you a drink, don’t take it. There is no way to know what you are actually drinking. Additionally, always keep your eye on your drink, and don’t leave it unattended.
If you’re hosting:
#1 Be smart about who you invite
If you know someone tends to make a scene, it’s okay to leave them off the invitation list. Smaller parties can be just as fun as big ones.
#2 Skip out on the fireworks
Unless you know what you’re doing, these can be dangerous. It’s possible they’re not allowed where you live either. Instead, stick to watching the ones or TV or the ones that might be going off in your town.
#3 Plan rides home for your guests
If there will be alcohol at your party, never allow anyone to drive home intoxicated. You may be held liable if they leave your house and get into an accident. Either find them a ride home, or let them stay the night at your house.
If you’re staying at home:
Staying at home to celebrate (or not celebrate) is just as fun! Enjoy the evening at home with friends or family!
We hope these suggestions will help you have a fun, safe and enjoyable time this holiday season!
If you have any questions about the courses mentioned in this guide or to get set up today, call us at (888) 810-7990 or visit 3rdmil.com.
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