The holidays for the past few years have been abnormal, to say the least. We had been forced to place family gatherings on hold, with no idea when to reschedule them for. COVID caused holiday celebrations to change drastically and add even more stress to an already stressful time of year. Although COVID is much better than it was a few years ago, the pandemic has not seen its final days yet. The good news is that travel restrictions have been lifted, which is helping make long-distance family gatherings more manageable. Everything seems as though there are promises life will see what we used to consider “normal” again soon.
Even though life is starting to become normal again and COVID stress is decreasing some may still feel increased stress as the holidays approach us. Many have adjusted increasingly well to being at home and isolated from the outside world. Of course, for anyone who naturally enjoys socializing, the ability to interact with others, and to have mindless conversations, the holidays will be a breath of fresh air and excitement.
The low-key, mellow homebody type was thrilled to have a logical excuse to stay at home for the holiday of their dreams. Changing back to the spectacle of talkative relatives, rambunctious children, and loud noises may be a complete shock to their sheltered systems. Human beings do have the ability to acclimate to new environments quickly and adjust to change, which COVID pushed all of us to learn quickly.
Everyone needs to remember that the holidays do not mean we need to make up for all the holidays missed due to COVID in one day. We need to enjoy these times without feeling increased pressure. We can converse and interact with our family and friends, while still protecting our personal space.
For anyone that is an introvert and enjoys the comforts of their home, the following tips might be beneficial to read. I am sure there are many more ideas available, but these are just a few that I came across and wanted to share them.
Take Baby Steps:
Now is a time to take things slow and not push ourselves too far. Many of us might be tempted to try avoiding social gatherings and holiday parties, but we should try to at least make a conscious effort. Avoidance can potentially make things far worse than they truly are.
The best way to readjust and ease back into the “normal” holidays is to take it one manageable event at a time. Remember, to stay true to yourself, if large events and gatherings cause you too much stress and anxiety, choose to attend smaller gatherings until you begin to feel more comfortable and less anxious.
It is crucial to create and maintain time limits. If you know you can only tolerate an hour or two at a family dinner, let this be known so everyone is aware and understands. You could simply say, “I am so excited to celebrate the holiday with everyone, but unfortunately, I must leave by 9 PM.” If you are with your significant other or a friend, establish a code word to let that person know you are ready to head home, so you can begin saying your “goodbyes”.
During the days leading up to your holiday gathering, try to self-talk. Do not tell yourself, it is going to be an uncomfortable and awful situation. Instead, remind yourself you are going to be surrounded by family who loves and accept you, and everything is going to be fine. The more you tell yourself this, the more that is what your brain will hold onto and remember.
Allow Yourself Breaks:
Whether the holiday gathering is with family or friends, keep your needs in mind. Stay aware of any indicators you are getting overwhelmed, your heart begins racing, you become overheated, etc. If your stress and uncomfortable feelings build up, simply politely excuse yourself to the restroom or step outside for some fresh air. A short and quiet break can help to calm yourself and be ready to socialize more.
The holidays do not need to be stressful, as they are meant to be enjoyable. We still have a few days left before Christmas Day, so try to keep yourself stress free and look forward to spending time with your loved ones. If you are not able to see everyone in your family due to distance, there is nothing wrong with picking up the phone to chat or even chatting on Zoom.
Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found the tips I have shared helpful, but if you have others, I will encourage you to share them. I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond as quickly as possible. I hope your week is going well and you have a good day! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!
Reblogged this on Survivors Blog Here Mental Health Collaborative .
the holidays can definitely be stressful! I am determined that this year my holiday season won’t be filled with stress. Happy holidays, Alyssa! Xx
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