woman blowing snow out of her hands

Dashing through the snow,

There’s so much left to do,

Over the budget we go,

I can’t stop feeling blue!

It’s certainly the season of giving! Everyone’s thoughts are filled with various tasks, whether it’s figuring out how to make that turkey fit in the oven or finding the perfect gift. No matter what holidays you celebrate, this is a stressful time! While it’s important to think of your loved ones, you need to think of yourself as well. Today, I present to you…the gift of self-care! Here are 10 ways to improve your mental health for the holidays, and prepare for a brand new year!

Plan ahead

Everyone is rushing around, especially in these next few weeks! Look to see when the busiest times are at the stores for your last-minute shopping spree, and make a plan for where to go and what to get there, so you don’t realize you’re missing something at the last moment (that procrastination feeling we know all too well).

sticky notes on paper document beside pens and box

Get your rest

It may be a busy time for businesses, but it doesn’t have to be for you! Most places of employment offer some sort of time off around this time, and you should make the most of it! No, I don’t mean spend ALL of it looking for stocking stuffers and pinterest ideas, but rather on yourselves. Catch up on some sleep, a hobby you enjoy, or that thrilling holiday murder mystery you’ve been waitng to read.

woman sleeping on bed under blankets

Have a budget (and stick to it!)

We all want to get someone the perfect gift, but sometimes it’s a *little* out of our price range. Okay, maybe a LOT out of our price range. Money can be a major source of stress for people, especially around the holidays. Making a budget for everyone you want to get gifts for is one way of making sure you satisfy your giving spirit while not stressing about surprise credit card bills!

turned on black and grey laptop computer

Get outside (safely!)

Fresh air, albeit a little frosty, is perfect for clearing the mind and eliminating stress. If snow’s on the ground, reawaken the kid in you by making a snowman, or having a *socially distant* snowball fight with a friend. If snowflakes haven’t made their way to you yet (or don’t plan to), a nice cup of hot tea or cocoa by the fireplace (well, in my case, the fireplace channel on the television) can elicit the same feeling of peace as watching the world blanketed in white.

rule of thirds photography of snowman

Turn on the tunes

We all have our favorite jingles! Dance like nobody’s watching, sing like you’re in the shower, and bring a little cheer to yourself through music. Light exercise each day is good for the body and mind, and also for when we inevitably steal some of Santa’s cookies when the kids aren’t looking.

closeup photo of black piano near lighted Christmas tree

Bring on the crafts

The holiday season always leads to me rifling through my craft bag, thinking of gifts I can make by hand (or at least attempt to), and not only does it save money, but it saves my sanity as well. With a pandemic making its way around once again, the comfort of my own home mixed with my restlessness to do something ends up leading to more handmade gifts than I know what to do with!

person doing handcrafts

Spend some (Face)Time with family and friends

Even if we are not able to see our loved ones for the time being, we still have so many ways to keep in touch through modern technology (Zoom, FaceTime, you name it!), as well as a variety of entertainment at our fingertips. I know I’ve spent a fair deal of time playing online games with others to stay connected!

two babies and woman sitting on sofa while holding baby and watching on tablet

Make a new tradition

Being asked to stay inside and socially distant has closed a lot of doors for people this holiday season, but it’s also opened the ones in our mind to new possibilities! My family has a tradition to always get dinner from a specific pizza place on Christmas Eve. How did it start? I honestly couldn’t say, but we’ve been doing it ever since, and it’s contactless as well! If takeout isn’t your style, you can decorate sugar cookies, make a gingerbread house, or even choreograph a dance to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Whatever your choice, make it a lasting one!

cookie lot on plate

Eat happy, be healthy

Cooking wasn’t always my thing, but when I moved out on my own I was forced to figure it out by both my mother AND my budget. There are so many meals that are both healthy and delicious, and eating healthy can also improve your mental health, especially if paired with exercise and a consistent sleep schedule. Since we’re all in it for the long haul, maybe it’s time to pull down those dusty cookbooks and give a new recipe a try!

poached egg with vegetables and tomatoes on blue plate

Make those goals!

My last recommendation is to start thinking forward. This has been a tough year for a lot of people, and it has us considering what could happen in 2021. While the pandemic keeps us from living life as we hoped to, we still have a lot of control over how the new year plays out. Feelings of depression and anxiety can come through when we feel there’s nothing for us to look forward to. By setting goals and resolutions now, when January 1st comes around the bend, we’ll be right on track to start it off with a smile.

I hope some of these ideas resonate with each of you, but if they don’t, it’s okay! Everyone finds peace and happiness in their own way, and there are plenty of people in the world sharing their personal experiences on what makes them stay positive. I wish you all the best this season. Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!