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De-Stress During the Holidays

As you're likely all too aware, 2020 has been a uniquely challenging and stressful year. During an average year, the holidays can bring up added layers of busy-ness and stress. Many of us are moving into this year's holiday season already feeling burned out. With that being said, we wanted to share a few suggestions for de-stressing during the holidays.




1) What can you ADD this holiday season?


What positive, recharging activities would be helpful for you to add in to your daily routine? I would recommend quick, easy to implement activities that provoke feelings of joy, satisfaction, peace, relaxation, purpose, meaning, or fulfillment.


You may consider adding:

  • yoga

  • meditation

  • social connection (in creative ways this year!)

  • physical activity/exercise

  • therapy

  • pleasure reading

  • rest

  • deep breathing

  • laughter

  • music

  • self-compassion (loving yourself in spite of your weaknesses and limitations)

2) What do you need to SUBTRACT this holiday season?


Set aside the pressure (whether it is internal or external) to say "yes" to everything. Give yourself permission to say "no" to people, places, and things that will add unnecessary stress or anxiety.

  • Lower your expectations. This year might not be like other years, and that is okay!

  • Be gentle with yourself, and remember that you can't be everywhere for everyone.

  • Strike a balance of "togetherness" versus "alone time" that works for you.

  • Give yourself permission to let go of things that you don't have time and energy for.

  • Hop off technology if you are feeling overwhelmed or falling into the comparison trap.

Particularly with coronavirus this year, I've heard several people vocalize concerns over their comfort level for in-person contact differing from extended family members. It's okay to assertively (politely, but firmly) say "no thank you, we're going to pass this year" or offer up a safer alternative that you feel comfortable with (like an outdoor or virtual meet-up).


What about you? What would you put on your lists of things to add and subtract to make this holiday season less stressful and more enjoyable for you? We'd love to hear from you!


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Carrie Nicholes is a Maryland Board approved Licensed Certified Social Worker - Clinical (LCSW-C) and the founder of Cedar Counseling & Wellness. Recognized as one of the top therapists in Annapolis, she has a lifelong passion for teaching people tools to improve their lives.



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