Preparing for the Holidays
For most people, winter holidays bring cookie-decorating, snowman-making, and extra time spent partying with friends and family. However, running around from place to place makes it easy to get caught up in the stress and pressure of the busy season. Here are a few little tips from the SUA Counseling Department to help make the holidays a little less overwhelming and to maximize our holiday cheer.
Make a spreadsheet or a to-do list to help organize the gifts you need to get, schoolwork to do, or other daily activities. Lists help to prioritize the things you want to accomplish that day and make sure you have time leftover for sleeping, exercising, and taking time for yourself. It also helps to keep your tasks simple and small so you can slow down and enjoy the moment.
Keeping a healthy balance of excitement and calm is important to avoid feeling drained or overwhelmed. Making a calendar and writing down your plans can help you better manage your time and look forward to upcoming events. Make sure to put aside time for even the little things you want to do, because if you don’t plan for it, it doesn’t always happen. Taking a nap or pausing to rest is important to recharge your mind and your body after or before an exhausting event. Be sure that you are getting enough sleep so you feel relaxed and ready to take on and make the most of the next day. You can also make a point to plan time for self-care, whether that’s taking an extra long bath, reading a book, or watching a movie so you can be looking and feeling your best.
Ensure that you are filling your time with activities that you enjoy and don't feel afraid to say no to potentially overwhelming activities. If you don’t like doing an activity, things can start to feel like tasks. Setting alarms throughout the day can help remind you to pay attention to your feelings. If you are feeling drained or overstimulated, consider taking deep breaths or moving to a quiet space to re-evaluate your situation and what you need to do before you can return.
Sometimes it can be hard to stay in the holiday spirit with everyone so stressed out and tired, but the best way to make the most of the holidays is looking at everything through a positive lens. Starting a gratitude journal and writing something everyday can help you to focus on what you are thankful for and pinpoint the things you value in life. Make sure you don’t let others affect your feelings. You shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying the holidays because others can’t be there or they don’t feel the same way.
De-stressing is especially important over the holidays because stress can build up and ultimately limit your happiness. Everyone generally has different ways they relax, but make sure you are putting aside time for a little selfcare. Some popular de-stressors are taking a long bath, listening to a podcast, and watching your favorite movie. Taking a walk or exercising is a good way to boost your endorphins and lower your stress while working off those christmas-carbs. Certain people relax in different ways, but you should identify how you can lower your stress, either by listening to music (or going someplace quiet), laughing with friends (or spending quality alone time), it all depends on your personality. Another thing to note is what our senses are receiving. Certain smells (like cookies), sounds (like music), and sights (like your favorite movie) can be appealing to our senses and help to lower our stress.
Preparing for Next Semester
Be attentive to your sleep cycle and start waking up early again to get back in routine. Create goals for the new semester so you can start prepared and focused. Make sure that you have all of your summer homework completed. Clean your room and organize your bookbag so that you are prepared to come back to school. Treat yourself to your favorite food or drink for the morning back.
Most importantly, don’t let your phone distract you from the special moments you should be spending with your family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!