This time of year can be one that is assumed to be happy and full of cheer. However, for some of us the holidays can be a time of increased stress, anxiety, and depression. More specifically, the goal of doing everything perfect can be the major contributor of negative emotions. For example, you might feel pressure to cook all day, look flawless, and have a smile on your face while doing it. For many people, especially women, domestic skills are a reflection of their identity. The pressure of pulling off the perfect holiday festivities can be an added source of anxiety. Which is why it’s critical to set your own standards of excellence, rather than trying to live up to the demands of our partners, family, friends, or in-laws. It can be hard pushing the negative words of others out of our heads. Hence, it becomes that much more important to be kind and gentle with ourselves during the holidays. That means using loving words in our head when we talk to ourselves. For instance, instead of telling yourself, “I never do this right,” tell yourself “I’m trying my best and that’s always the right way.”
With an increase in time away from work, people tend to increase their time spent on social media. Social media is littered with memes, videos, and posts featuring women “who have it all together.” However, social media only provides a peephole into a person’s life. You never know if that woman who posted a picture of her perfect sweet potato pie cried all day because she is treated negatively by her partner. Just because you see it on social media, does not mean you have access into a person’s entire life experience. Pay attention to how social media makes you feel and if it makes you feel inadequate or inferior, decrease your usage. Social media should be a source of entertainment, inspiration, and connection with positive people. So if it doesn’t make you feel good, stop it.
This holiday season I challenge you to value yourself as a person who can be kind to oneself, can see humor in the unpredictable, and beauty in imperfection. This is happiness for the holidays.