Cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, attending events, hosting gatherings, and so much more. The holidays are a busy time for many people.

Being busy can be fun, but it can be draining. Ask anyone who just found out their office is having a Secret Santa gift exchange the very next day.

But, being busy doesn’t have to take a toll on your health. There are ways to approach the holidays that won’t exhaust your mental health and send you reaching for the biggest available glass of wine.

Heck, you may even enjoy the holidays, as unbelievable as it may sound. Here are some ways that you can preserve your mental health during the holidays:

1. Exercise. You don’t have to add “go to gym” to your to-do list in order to squeeze physical fitness into your day. Park your car farther away from your destination than usual

. Use the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Take a few laps in the mall while you’re shopping. Exercise can help you feel better physically and mentally and relieve stress.

2. Share. You aren’t the only person facing holiday craziness. The holidays provide many opportunities to meet with friends and family members – and vent to them. They, in turn, can vent to you. Social interaction is a good way to fight depression and reinforce the fact that you are not alone in any of this.

3. Embrace shortcuts. Do your kids need to bring cookies to their school? If you’re pressed for time and feeling anxious about it, buy those cookies instead of making them. But, if baking is how you soothe your anxiety, bake away. If shopping is the bane of your existence, consider buying gift cards for the impossible-to-buy-for people in your life. Doing so can save you time and hassle.

4. Remember the past. Last year, did you freak out that X would happen if you didn’t do Y? What happened? There’s a good chance you didn’t do all that you wanted to do last holiday season, but you probably still enjoyed yourself. You don’t need to do everything this year, either. This leads us to…

5. Accept imperfection. Perfect is the enemy of good. If Martha Stewart and Oprah can’t be perfect, none of us can. Did you burn a Thanksgiving casserole? You aren’t the first person to do that, and you sure won’t be the last. Your family will survive, and it might just become a family legend that provides laughs at future gatherings.

Day-to-day life can be challenging enough. The holidays can create even more challenges. But, they’re challenges you can overcome. You’re waaaaay stronger than turkey and malls.

Written by guest blogger Nicole Allen.

 

 

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