What To Do If The Holiday Is Not Merry And Bright

SELF-care suggestions to get you off the anxiety or stress train.

There may be some days, weeks, months, maybe even years when – for whatever reason – just getting through the day, or going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other feels hard. Really, really hard. You dread the holidays because of the pressure and it may not be a joy, but another stressor.

Maybe it’s because you’re wrestling with anxiety, depression or some other mental condition. Maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken. Maybe you dread spending time with your family of origin and have to pretend you’re fine or maybe some family members are hard to deal with and exasperate your stress levels. Maybe you’ve gone through a physical or emotional trauma. Maybe you’re deeply grieving. Or maybe there’s no easily understood reason for why you’re feeling bad.

Whatever the case, I want you to know that it’s OK if you’re going through a tough time. This doesn’t make you any less lovable, worthy or capable. This just means you’re human.


60 Self-Care Tips To Try

1. Have a good, long cry.

2. Call a trusted, supportive friend or family member and talk it out.

3. Call in sick. Take a mental health day.

4. Say no to extra obligations, chores, or anything you don’t feel like doing.

5. Think of some recent pleasant and cheerful moments or what went well that made you smile.

6. Soak your feet and add lavender essential oil to the warm water.

6. Spend a few hours with zero expectations.

7. Tuck yourself into bed early with a good book and clean sheets.

8. Watch a comforting/silly/funny/lighthearted TV show or movie.

9. Look at some really gorgeous pieces of art.

10. Wrap yourself up in a cozy fleece blanket and sip a cup of hot tea.

11. Breathe in such a way that your inhalation and exhalation are the same duration (5 in, 5 out). At the same time, imagine that you’re breathing in and out the area of your heart. Recent studies at the Heart/Math Institute indicate that breathing this way may reduce stress and improve cardiovascular health. As you breathe evenly, call to mind a pleasant, heartfelt emotion such as gratitude, kindness, and love. Imagine this feeling moving through your heart. Try this for a minute or two.

12. Drink more water.

13. Eat something healthy.

14. Or eat some not-so-healthy comfort food.

15. Sleep.

16. Wear clothes that make you feel good.

17. Soak in the sun.

18. How about some gentle stretches.

19. Feel your feelings without judging them.

20. Don’t watch the news.

21. Avoid toxic, negative or abusive people.

22. Take a long, hot bath, light a candle and pamper yourself.

23. Knit. Sculpt. Bake. Draw.

24. Exhaust yourself physically – running, yoga, swimming, whatever helps you feel fatigued.

25. Write it out. Get it all out and vent.

26. Take five minutes to meditate. Here’s a great meditation app:

27. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’ll Be OK.

28. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’re a Good, Lovable Person.

29. Write out a list of 25 Things That Make Your Life Beautiful.

30. Lay down on the floor in child’s pose.

31. Ask yourself: What’s my next most immediate priority? Do that. Then ask the question again.
Be gentle with yourself if you get nothing done. Maybe only 1 thing on your list of 7, so congratulate yourself!

32.Take a tech break. (Sometimes best to stay away from social media. People only post how great their life is, and this may make you feel more alone).

33. Or maybe get on tech. If you’ve been isolating. Lose yourself learning something new.

34. Go out in public and be around others. You don’t have to engage. But maybe go sit in a coffee shop or on a bench at a museum and soak up the humanity around you.

35. Or if you’re feeling too saturated with contact, go home. Cancel plans and tend to the introverted parts of yourself.

36. Ask friends and family to remind you that things will be OK and that what you’re feeling is temporary.

37. Put up some Christmas lights in your bedroom. They often make things more magical.

38. Spend a little money and treat yourself to some self-care and comfort. Maybe take a taxi versus the bus. Buy your lunch instead of forcing yourself to pack it.

39. Buy some flowers that delight you.

40. Scribble with crayons. Doodle and fill up the whole page. Paint a rock. Just create something.

41. Color in some adult coloring books.

42. Revisit an old hobby.

43. Be surrounded by nature.

44. Put down the personal help books and pick up some good old-fashioned fiction.

45. Tell yourself it’s okay to feel bummed at this time of year. Many people do. Feel the feelings and don’t judge them.

46. If you have a garden, go garden. If you have some indoor plants, tend to them. If you don’t have plants or a garden, go outside. Go to a local nursery and touch and smell all the gorgeous plants.

47. If you want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, do it. Indulge.

48. Watch or listen to some comedy shows or funny podcast and have a good laugh.

49. Get expert help with whatever you need.

50. Educate yourself about what you’re going through.

51. Establish a routine and stick to it. Routines can bring so much comfort and grounding in times when life that feels chaotic or out of control.

52. Do some hardcore nesting and make your home or bedroom as cozy and beautiful and comforting as possible.

53. Get up early and watch a sunrise.

54. Go outside and set up a chair and watch the sunset.

55. Make your own list of self-soothing activities that minimize your stress.

56. Develop a supportive morning ritual for yourself.

57. Develop a relaxing evening ritual for yourself.

58. Volunteer at a local shelter or hospital or nursing home. Practice being of service to others who may also be going through a tough time.

59. Accompany a friend or family member to something. Even if it’s just keeping them company while they run errands, sometimes this kind of contact can feel like good self-care and a distraction.

60. Find a therapist if nothing is really working. Book an appointment and test it out.

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What self-care techniques have really supported you when going through life’s tough times? How are you handling the stress of the holidays? Let us know one or more ideas, tools or activities that have brought you relief and comfort so that others can benefit from your experience and wisdom.

If you are feeling hopeless, in despair, useless, or more down than usual because the holidays trigger unhappy memories and these self-care tips are not changing those feelings, please call this number and talk to a caring individual and tell that person what’s going on, honestly. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You owe it to yourself to get out of the darkness. You deserve to feel better about life, about yourself. You are not alone.

NAMI (National Alliance Of Mental Health) 

Helpline 800-950-6264





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *