Tips for being present, not perfect this holiday season
The holidays are a time of celebration, filled with family gatherings, gift giving and good cheer, but for many people, they also are a time of stress and seemingly never-ending to-do lists. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holidays.
To help ward off the stress of the season, Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D., offers tips for families to slow down and focus on being present, not perfect.
Tip #1 Avoid comparing yourself to others
The holidays often come with the added pressure of being a model host, displaying Pinterest-worthy decorations and purchasing extravagant gifts. Instead of comparing yourself to others - or what you may see on TV or social media - measure yourself against your own progress. Instead of worrying about what you can't do, enjoy the contributions you can make and cherish the time you get to spend with family and loved ones.
Tip #2 Emphasize presence over presents
People - not presents - are what make the holiday season special. Do not underestimate the importance of forming simple, yet meaningful connections with those around you, over more tangible items, such as gifts. The quality of our relationships are what matter not the quantity.
Tip #3 Recognize your mental health needs
For those coping with grief, loss or mental health challenges, the holidays may not feel like the most wonderful time of the year. Sometimes, in order to be fully present, we need to know when to take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle. If traditions are becoming overwhelming it's ok to step back and limit the amount of holiday events you find yourself attending. Do the best you can with the energy you have to devote holiday events you are a part of.
Tip #4 Ask for help
A little help can go a long way - especially during the holidays. If you need assistance tackling your to-do-list - do not hesitate to ask a family member or friend to lend a helping hand. If you get overwhelmed during the holidays there is no harm in cutting back or involving those around you to help you with your festivities. Have your kids get involved with helping you with holiday preparations. You can involve them in helping to decorate or even spend quality time making crafts with them for memories that will last a lifetime.
Tip #5 Practice self-compassion
We are often our own worst critics. This holiday season, make sure to change any negatives - when speaking about yourself - by embracing self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and implement positive self-acknowledgement. Be kinder and more patient with yourself.