The holiday season can be overwhelming. While I enjoy shopping, cooking, decorating, and spending time with loved ones, it can leave me drained and exhausted. The holiday season represents joy and celebration, but life has a way of challenging our plans and intentions. Taking care of ourselves is integral to enjoying this season to the fullest.
Holidays have a significant impact on our lives. Every year, I remind myself to be mindful of my spending. I get so caught up in gift exchanges and not-so-necessary decorations that I lose track of what is truly important. A present is lovely, but the gift of our presence and undivided attention is unmatched. Spending time with loved ones and being present in the moment is priceless. I must remind myself to put the phone down, set aside my worries for another day, and focus on being fully present. If a gift exchange is essential and you have a large family, we can always give a personalized homemade card or a small trinket that symbolizes your appreciation. Seasonal sales are great but be mindful of impulsive spending. Knowing our financial limits and respecting those boundaries is part of our well-being. It allows us to prioritize our expenses and financial goals.
Social expectations can be a source of stress during the holidays. We may feel pressured to participate in events or activities that do not align with our current emotional or physical wellness. I allow myself to leave social events early, take breaks, or excuse myself from them as needed. Your loved ones may be more understanding of your limits than you think. Share your feelings with them, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Sometimes, it’s essential to know the food or seating options at the event, or it may be essential to know who may attend the gathering if it contributes to an unhealthy dynamic. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and follow through with them.
For those who experience loneliness or grief during the holiday season, know that you are not alone. The absence of people or any loss in your life can be difficult this time of year. Whatever the cause of our grief is, know that it is okay to acknowledge and express it. One way to deal with these feelings is to rethink our expectations and be flexible with ourselves. These feelings are entirely valid. Seek support from friends, family, and professionals, and practice acceptance. My MSAA Community Online Forum offers a free peer-to-peer online forum for individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners to share information and their experiences with multiple sclerosis. Building connections and finding support this holiday season can be done in various ways.
Self-care has become an essential component of well-being during the holiday season. I have learned that prioritizing my needs and preferences does not have to be an added task on my to-do list. I can make small changes that have a significant impact on my health.