It’s officially 2 weeks until Christmas. We're at a point in the month where things are starting to get hectic and people are feeling overwhelmed with life and the added stress of holiday preparations.
You may have noticed I've been talking a lot on Facebook about the group I have partnered with, Women who Will: A Whole Health Program, a team-based approach to build community and help women learn ways to prioritize themselves. Tracy, the owner of the clinic, started this group as she was seeing an epidemic of overwhelm and people overcommitting themselves. I couldn’t agree more, so this week’s email is about how to feel less overwhelmed during the holidays and beyond….
If you follow other mental health pages on social media or you do a quick google search, there are many tips that address surface level solutions to survive the holidays. I want to get to the ROOT of what makes this time of year hard. I want you to look at the narrative you've been telling yourself all year long. Stress over holidays doesn’t usually come out of nowhere, it just becomes worse than usual.
For many people this is because of the pressure they put on themselves, the expectations placed on them from others, fear of saying no and letting others down, & feeling like everyone else but you can do it all. All those beliefs lead people to stop prioritizing themselves and join the rat race of making everyone else happy. I am inviting you to consider a different approach, here is what to do:
Add value to your own life FIRST- many of us need help to create boundaries and address limiting mindsets that prevent us from taking care of ourselves and having the life we want. If you really want to feel less stress you need to look at your beliefs and perspective and what you are agreeing to and settling for. The reality is, if you did more of this, you wouldn’t need to find ways to cope through less than ideal means such as alcohol, food or binge watching Netflix.
You usually need to give something up to grow, maybe something that's no longer serving you. You cannot heal yourself by staying in the same pain you're currently experiencing and hoping things will change. This isn't an effective strategy. Changing and feeling less overwhelmed comes from deliberate daily changes. Here are some suggestions:
1. Challenge any guilt you feel for putting your care above others. This could be sleep, nutrition, exercise, or medical appointments (yes this includes therapy). You are a better wife, mama, friend and employee to everyone around you when you take care of yourself. Challenge the old school beliefs that to be worthy you need to be helpful to other people. This is a lie. Stop using the excuse of you are too busy to do things for yourself, schedule time on the calendar and make it happen.
2. Sit down and do an honest inventory of your commitments. Say yes to opportunities, social or otherwise, only when you want to. You are not rude for saying no, people aren’t questioning your decision to say no as much as you think they are.
3. Ask for help, you are not weak for doing this. If someone can relieve some of your stress let them, especially if they offered! It makes people feel good to help you. Remind yourself you have nothing to prove.
These are 3 seemingly small things that I promise, if you practice them, your life will change.
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