It’s the most wonderful time of the year… right?
The holidays can be magical and wonderful, but they can also be stressful and lonely. If you are feeling anxious, stressed, sad or lonely during this time, you might be experiencing the Holiday Blues.
Here are 7 tips to help you manage your expectations to avoid those holiday blues:
1. Identify your expectations.
Hallmark holiday movies are fun to watch, but they can give us unrealistic expectations about what the holidays are supposed to be like.
It’s important to be realistic with yourself, your time, and your loved ones to create holiday memories without stressing too much about having everything look picture perfect.
Are your current expectations setting you up for the holiday blues? If so, take some time to reset your expectations to be more realistic and allow yourself to enjoy your holiday.
2. Process grief for lost loved ones or other unmet expectations.
The holidays can make the loss of loved ones feel more painful. If you’re struggling with overwhelming grief, please seek help from a professional by calling or texting the 988 crisis lifeline.
It’s also important to process any unmet expectations you may have, whether it’s the loss of a relationship, a job you wanted, a promotion you were chasing, or challenges with growing your family.
Hallmark holiday movies are set up to be magical, to have some light tension that is always resolved beautifully and the main characters always live happily ever after. But life isn’t a movie.
In reality, many of us are trying to squeeze in holiday moments between work emails and they don’t feel all that magical. It’s time to process your unmet expectations and the feelings that may lead to the Holiday Blues.
3. Practice gratitude.
It’s easy to get caught up in looking at social media and wanting what they have, but more often than not, what “they” have has been carefully produced to look better than reality.
Intentionally focusing on what you have will help you feel more contentment and joy. A great way to do this is to start a gratitude journal, and you can use these questions as journal prompts:
- What are you grateful for right now?
- Who is a person in your life that you’re grateful for?
- Did something happen over the past year that you’re grateful for?
- What are you grateful for when you look in the mirror?
Practicing gratitude will make a positive difference in your life and in the way you feel. You can read more about gratitude in our post about unplugging from work here.
4. Start with what you can control.
You can edit your expectations or manage them with this quick exercise.
- Make a list of everything you’re worried about right now.
- Draw a line through every item that is totally outside of your control.
- Make a plan for the things that are within your control.
- Focus on just 1-3 of them during the holidays.
Remember, focusing on things you cannot control means you’re flushing your energy down the drain. Intentionally using your energy to focus on what you can control will help you manage your expectations and build positive momentum to shift out of the Holiday Blues.
5. Manage yourself.
Everyone wants a piece of you, especially at the holidays! There are work projects and holiday shopping, work parties and holiday parties, and traveling to visit friends or relatives.
The holidays can be hectic and it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Make sure to prioritize self-care and set priorities and boundaries.
Even if you’ve already set priorities and boundaries for your life phase right now, it’s worth taking a look at them for the holidays and deciding how they might shift or change to accommodate the demands of the holiday season.
We talked about how to set priorities and schedule your time in this post here. We also shared an example schedule from one of the leaders we coach.
6. Rest, relax, and recover.
Take some time for yourself over the holidays to rest. There are seven different types of rest that every person needs: physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, and spiritual. (Part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series)
Depending on what you do for work and the responsibilities you have at home, you may need to prioritize different types of rest.
Similar to rest, there are also many different ways to relax. So it’s important that you find ways to relax over the holidays that fill your cup back up.
If you have a pet, the HeartMath Institute has found that gazing into your pet’s eyes can create a positive feedback loop of oxytocin in both you and your pet. Being around your pet can also create a positive state of coherence. (Exploring The Beneficial Bond Between People and Dogs)
If you’re struggling with this, read our post about the 4 Things You Can Do to Unplug From Work and Be More Present in Your Life.
7. Envision your best and make it happen.
Often we’re worrying about what the future will bring, but what if you take some time over the holidays to think about your future in a positive way.
If you want to create a legacy and build an abundant life full of opportunities, this is a great time of year to take some time to envision your best and make it happen.
Our Coaches can help you dig deep into the roots of what makes you who you are, help you envision your best, plant the seeds of possibility based on your vision, and develop a clear Growth Plan with action steps for you to follow.
Let’s chat and design a Growth Plan to help you envision your best and make it happen.