The holiday season is often touted as a time of joy and celebration, but it can bring about a range of difficult emotions. The pressure to spend money, attend holiday parties, and maintain a cheerful facade can lead to guilt and increased stress levels. On top of that, the emphasis on family can amplify the absence of loved ones or magnify complicated relationships, stirring up feelings of grief.
Getting in touch with how we feel about the holidays is crucial for workers in the nonprofit sector. Emotional awareness not only helps us to maintain our mental health but also allows us to better support the people we serve who often face their own challenges this time of year. With this in mind, here are five things you can do to navigate the ups and downs of holiday emotions with grace.
1. Talk with a Professional
In work environments where we’re constantly on the move, we don’t always have time to process how we feel — or have someone in our workplace with time or skills to listen. If you already know you struggle during the holidays, start talking with a professional. Look for a therapist near you or join a support group. We recommend checking out this list of resources from Online Counseling Programs to get started.
2. Establish Boundaries
The holiday season often comes with a flurry of social invitations and commitments. While it’s tempting to say yes to everything, it’s crucial to recognize your limits and set boundaries. Politely decline invitations that feel overwhelming. It’s okay to allocate time for rest and relaxation; actually, it’s essential in maintaining emotional balance.
3. Connect with “Framily”
Amidst family and work demands, prioritize time for meaningful connection with your closest friends. Whether spending quality time in person or reaching out by phone, good friends provide a sense of belonging and reminders that you are loved.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
Instead of succumbing to unrealistic expectations of creating picture-perfect holidays, respect that you can’t do it all. Whether planning manageable gatherings, simplifying your holiday menu, or being realistic about gift-giving, setting goals you can achieve and embracing imperfections can alleviate unnecessary stress.
5. Make Time for Mindfulness
Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your holiday routine. Whether it’s a quiet moment with a book, a sweat session at the gym, or a walk outdoors, take moments to ground yourself in the present by engaging in activities that recharge your physical and emotional batteries.
Remember, many of us in the nonprofit sector grapple with emotional challenges during the holiday season. Thankfully, there are many things we can do to support ourselves. By acknowledging and normalizing the range of emotions we experience, we can navigate the holiday season more effectively, making this a time of self-discovery and connection on our own terms.
Founded and led by a Bronx-born Puerto Rican woman with lived experience of the challenges our clients work to address, Lydia Sierra Consulting is a full-service firm providing all the administrative, technical, and strategic support of a complete in-house development department.