While it is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” the holiday season can be very chaotic. With finals, gift shopping, dinner parties and a gathering with the whole extended family on the horizon, it’s easy to feel our stress levels climbing. Despite all of this, it’s important to make sure you take time this holiday season to practice self care.
One of, if not the most stressful part of the holiday season is finals. It can be difficult to make time to study, especially if you’re attempting to work a seasonal job. However, it is important to review your notes and get your homework done, this time of year more than ever. In high school, the grade you make on your final exam can often have the potential to bump you up a letter grade or drop you down. Try to set aside time every night to study so you’re not cramming the night before the exam. Cramming will deprive you of a good night’s sleep, which is crucial to your testing success.
Another stressful holiday activity is gift shopping—who am I buying gifts for, what am I buying and how am I going to afford it? If you’re worried about the cost, trade the expensive, flashy gifts for homemade, meaningful ones. Believe it or not, many people would much rather receive a sentimental gift, such as a painting or a homemade bracelet than a gift card or peppermint scented body wash. If you’re not crafty or do not have the time to invest in DIY gift making, consider making cookies or other baked goods to give as gifts. Everyone loves a good crack-and-bake cookie, and no one really has to know that it’s not a special family recipe!
To some people, the family gathering can be the most anxiety-inducing holiday activity of them all. It may not always be a good idea to put your conservative grandma and your gay uncle under the same roof. It may not be fun to have seven toddlers running around your house, destroying your stuff. It might drive you crazy having to share your bedroom with two other people that you only see once a year. You might not enjoy the holidays with your family, and that’s okay. You’re certainly not the only one. But, because it’s inevitable, try to make the most of it. If the full house becomes too much, suggest going out for lunch with your favorite cousin. If the conversation turns into an argument, take a walk to give your relatives some time to cool down, and to cool yourself down. It’s only for a few days. After that, they’ll be out of your hair for the next eleven months!
Maintaining your stress levels and taking care of yourself mentally is crucial to enjoying your holidays. When you’re not running errands, studying or trying not to cry, make sure you indulge in some of your favorite holiday traditions. Get yourself a peppermint mocha before they go out of season, listen to carols on the radio or donate gifts to your local shelters and co-ops. And finally, make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically. Wash your hands throughly and often! Nothing will ruin your holidays more than an impossible to get rid of cold!