Holiday Survival Guide

November and December are generally challenging months for me: the diminishing sunlight and pre-holiday events can easily drain my energy.  I also notice increasing stress and anxiety mounting in my patients at the clinic which can transfer onto me if I’m not careful.  

Here are my top pre-holiday life hacking tips:

  1. I often find my energy at its lowest the middle of December so I try to keep the middle weekend free of plans. It does require me to decline a holiday party invitation or two but it’s better for my mental health in the long run.
  2. If I have said “no” to an event and I do really want to spend time with that person, I will follow-up with a suggestion for future date when I have more energy.
  3. I will try to avoid daily consumption of sugar and alcohol in November and December, saving those treats for special occasions.
  4. I have found doing a jigsaw puzzle at home, with great music in the background, is a calming and mindful activity. 
  5. If possible, taking a day by day approach to committing to events and gatherings. This can be challenging for events planned far in advance but making game time decisions on whether to say yes/no forces me to check in with how my mind + body are feeling that day.
  6. If an event requires more energy than I am capable of expending, I am diligent about only committing to what I can handle.  For example, every Christmas my husband and son travel for an extended break to Ottawa.  I usually take the train for a 2-3 night visit which allows me to time to celebrate with my extended family but also allows for some quiet solo time the week after.
  7. Sleep, sleep and more sleep – I cannot sleep enough in November + December!

[originally published December 2019]

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