A Guide To Prepare For Holidays : Keep Calm & Holiday On

Even though the holiday season can be a time of magic and wonder, it can also wreak havoc on your mental health. Keep calm and holiday on because this post will help you prepare For holidays. From bustling stores, the rush of finding perfect gifts, sending out the cards on time, cooking, parties, and even holiday music’s possible detrimental effect, it is no surprise that stress can get the best of anyone. We travel more, spend more money and spend more time with people that can potentially stress us out more. Keep calm and holiday on because this post will help you prepare For holidays.

When it comes to our mental health and stress levels, it’s worth it to prepare yourself before the holidays are here. Remember – the holidays are fun! Right?

Dealing with Travel Woes

Travel during holidays may conjure images of crowded roads and airports, long lines, delays, cancellations, a number of potential problems. The good news is that there are some simple strategies to make it less torturous and nerve racking than you probably imagine.

Allow more time. Pack earlier, make lists, and explore your options for delays and cancellations before they happen. Save your favorite podcast or audiobook for the trip. Wear your favorite sweater, grab your favorite snack, whatever helps you replace memories of difficult travel with more pleasant memories.

Once travel is done and you’re back home, or your guests have left, give yourself the gift of some self-love and care before getting back into your routine. Think of it as a pre-work prep, focused only on you.

Beat Busyness

Anxiety and depression can really peak during the holidays for lots of reasons. Overscheduling, breaking away from routines, and letting self-care slip stack up against us, leaving us feeling more vulnerable than usual.

Remember to take time for yourself, even if it’s sitting quietly for five minutes before you go to the next thing on your schedule. Recognize what triggers you, and plan for an out. Remember, you don’t have to accept every invitation you’re given. Continue to prioritize what helps you. Advocate for yourself, no matter how pushy others may be.

Freeing the Financial Fright

Americans spend more money each year than previous years according to the National Retail Federation, and this year spending is projected to reach $678.75 billion. All of the expenses add up quickly. By creating a game plan, this stress can be alleviated. Prepare your holiday budget early, and stick with it. If you’re in a relationship, get on the same page as your significant other, and come to agreements together to avoid heightened tension over money and unspoken expectations. When it is time to go shopping, one suggestion is to use large bills. It may be less tempting to break a large bill on an unplanned impulse buy, keeping your spending in check. Try to remember to focus on the spirit of the holiday season with experiences instead of physical gifts.

Calm Relationship Tensions

Most of us have people in our lives that can be more difficult to be around. Whether it’s political disagreement, critics, or family members who just don’t understand what it’s like to live with a mental health condition, holidays can amplify issues. Heightened emotions and stress during holidays affects everyone, and their attitude is about them, not you. Give the empathy that you desire.

If you are staying with family members or friends during the holidays, make your travel arrangements wisely. Just because you’re invited to stay for eight days, doesn’t mean you have to. Plan ahead to stay only as long as your sanity will allow, and remember to build in that important self-care time before heading back to work. Even during your stay, scope out activities you can do to get an hour or two to yourself, whether it’s at a coffee shop, walking trail, try a yoga or cycling class, or treat yourself to a massage or mani-pedi – just remember to build it into your travel and holiday budget first!

When It’s All Over

When you start working to get back into your routine, and you’ve given yourself a little time to decompress before going back into your routine, remember to be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for eating that extra truffle or indulging at the free bar at your company’s party. Take small steps to ease back into your normal eating and exercising habits, and don’t get extreme on the New Year’s resolutions.

The holiday season doesn’t have to be painful, stressful, and negative. Above all, you don’t have to be perfect. Your vulnerability and your authenticity are what make you, and those around you, human. In the words of Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and expert on courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.” Have courage to face your holidays for what they are: a human experience.

To support you throughout the holiday season and beyond, the therapists at Lincoln Park Therapy Group are here to help. Book an appointment here or email us: info@LincolnParkTherapyGroup.com


If you’re in the Chicago area and interested in therapy services, you can learn more about starting here. Or if you’re ready to get started, reach out to us and schedule an appointment.