Feel the Holiday Cheer
The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us—are you feeling excited, or more low spirited? If your answer leaned towards the latter—and if, for you, this time of year feels more heavy than happy—you might want to consider opting out of the merry festivities. While the holiday season can be joyful, filled with gratitude, and get-togethers, it can also be stressful, cloying, and overwhelming, depending on where you’re at in your life right now.
So, instead of just powering through because other people expect you to (or because you expect you to) consider bowing out this year, especially if you’re feeling any of the following.
- You’re Burnt Out –The end of the year can mean serious work deadlines and deliverables, meaning that while your friends are busy shopping for gifts and clinking glasses at cocktail parties, you’re stuck at the office crunching numbers or working on wrapping up projects. Too much work and no play can really weigh on you, especially if those long hours have translated into a lack of sleep, exercise, or healthy eating. Instead of spending your precious days off this holiday season schlepping to your parents’ house or trying to muster the energy to get into the holiday spirit, you may just need to reset your mind and body, solo.
- You Don’t have the Time or Resources to Make the Holidays Special- Maybe you love going all out for Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s—or every winter holiday, for that matter. If this year, money’s tight (or time is not on your side), you may feel like if you can’t go big, you’d rather just stay home. While there’s nothing wrong with a pared down celebration—things aren’t what makes a holiday special after all—you may need to ease the pressure you put on yourself by simply opting out entirely. Pass the torch this year if you usually do the hosting and attend festivities (if you’d like) as a guest instead.
- You Need a Break from People- If your social life has been going full speed ahead over the last few months, your calendar packed with weddings, happy hours, and other (for-the-most-part-fun) obligations, you may just need some time to be alone. Taking time to tune in to yourself is essential for many of us, especially those who lean towards being more introverted. Either celebrate solo or opt for a quiet celebration with just a handful of your nearest and dearest to give yourself the space you need.
- Your Idea of What the Holidays Mean has Changed- There’s a lot going on in the world right now that could make even the most optimistic among us feel smothered by a cloud of gloom and doom. You may feel like it’s entirely frivolous to buy new things for people who don’t really need those new things, or you may cringe at the idea of how much food waste occurs at each of those holiday meals. You’re not a Scrooge; you’re just looking at things a little differently right now. Consider volunteering over the holidays to give back to those who need help—your actions will not only lift others up, they will compel you to feel grateful for what you have and inspire you to continue to lend a hand.
- You’d Rather Do Something Else- Maybe you would just really, really, really rather fly to Italy for a week than hang out with your whole family and do the same version of the holidays you’ve done year after year. Go for it. Yes, your loved ones may balk at your sudden departure from the celebration, but choosing self-care over pleasing others is a huge part of being an adult. Advocate for yourself and your needs, especially when it matters most.
Recharge and Relax
While the holidays are usually a time to celebrate with family and friends, we don’t always have the bandwidth to cope with the get-up-and-go energy the season is infused with. Instead of forcing yourself to participate, stop the guilt and take care of yourself. Skipping out on even a few gatherings may even give you the energy you need to join in on the bigger events, so don’t be afraid to offer that as a compromise if your family isn’t 100% on board with your plan. This is meant to be a time of celebration and joy, and you deserve to find that place in whatever way best benefits you.
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