3 Ways to Be Your Best Self During the Holidays


For a season that’s supposedly jolly, the holidays can be extraordinarily stressful. Between the pressure to go to holiday parties, the anxiety over buying presents, and the rush to finish work or hit milestones before the end of the year, it’s kind of amazing that we arrive at January 1st in one piece.  Here are three things you can do to help yourself make it to the other side - and even enjoy yourself along the way.

1) Get your beauty rest. Sleep has a truly extraordinary impact on our ability to play well with others. When I have even one or two nights in a row where I get an hour less sleep than usual, suddenly everything seems harder to handle. I get overwhelmed more easily, and I overreact to situations that, with more sleep, I would calmly handle. It’s a challenge to go to bed at a reasonable hour when it feels like there’s no time to do all the things we want or need to do, but getting that sleep puts us in a much better position to do the things that really matter to us.

2) Make sure you take time for yourself. With all the people in your life clamoring for attention at this time of year - from your coworkers to your Aunt Mildred - you can forget to give yourself the time you need to recharge on your own. This could be as small as taking a walk in the middle of your day, or having a cup of tea by yourself before you engage with your coworkers (or relatives), or meditating for five minutes between meetings. It could be as big as going out of your way to come to a meditation class, or booking time at a day spa to get a facial and massage. Ask yourself what activities give you that sensation of release and relaxation, and schedule time for them. Giving yourself the gift of renewal makes a huge difference in how you show up for the people in your life.

3) Accept the things you can’t change, especially other people. Spending lots of time with relatives can bring up old feelings, about them and about ourselves. How can you be your best self, when you’re being triggered every few minutes by your mother’s prodding questions or your uncle’s unsavory jokes? Since there’s no way you can control their behavior, the answer lies in how you manage your own response to it. Deeply accepting that they are who they are, and looking for the connection points between you rather than the differences, helps. It also helps to ask yourself, what can I learn from this situation? When I’m able to treat my life as an amazing journey, where all the characters that cross my path have something to teach me, I can shift out of anger and blame and into curiosity. Starting from there, it’s much easier to engage with everyone in my life the way I really want to: with kindness and love.

How do you help yourself show up the way you want to life gets stressful?  Share your ideas in the comments below!

Hannah KnappComment