The "happiest time of the year" for many is the saddest, most stressful, overwhelming and exhausting time of the year. If this is you, keep reading. You are not alone and there are some things you can try to take the edge off and maybe even find moments of joy.
There are many reasons people don't enjoy the holiday season including grief, difficult family dynamics, feeling overwhemed by caregiving/hosting duties and/or financial stress. I am going to address each of these in individual posts.
For now here are some general tips
Decline invitations that will trigger you
Limit alcohol consumption/use of substances
Arrive late and leave early
Have an exit plan
Plan a budget and stick to it
Set clear boundaries around expectations, number of events you are willing to attend, time and money you plan to spend
Plan time for self care
Clarify what you would like to get out of the holiday season and what your intentions are
Don't take on more than you can handle. Find beauty in simplicity
Practice gratitude daily
Honor family, religious, cultural traditions that you enjoy and are important to you
Remember what is important to you. Spend time with people who fill your cup instead of drain it. If that isn't an option for you right now make sure you take extra time for self care that refuels you and feeds your soul. Try to focus less on throwing a great party, gift giving or spending days in the kitchen cooking and more on what gives you joy, unless this is what gives you joy than by all means have at it! The greatest gift we can give to our loved ones can't be bought or eaten. The greatest gift we can give is teaching healthy boundaries and the importance of self care and to give this gift we must start with ourselves.