The holidays are often stressful — if not downright triggering — for many people, despite the fact this period is often packaged as a time of peace and joy. It doesn’t help we are completely surrounded by technology and social media, which can add to our holiday stress and possible trauma.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to manage our stress during this holiday season. I had the pleasure of speaking with Larissa May, founder of #HalfTheStory, about some of her important skills for managing holiday stress in our digital age. Self-care is more important now than ever.
“#HalfTheStory is a next generation non-profit on a mission is to empower the next generation’s relationship with social media, through advocacy, education, and providing access to resources for youth. #Halfthestory has become a globally recognized movement, pioneering a conversation about the importance of digital wellbeing for youth through educational resources and internationally recognized events like the Global Day of Unplugging.”
I have already found that Larissa’s skills have helped to lessen my stress from social media and technology as a whole. These are skills that can be used year-round but are particularly important during times of high holiday stress. Even if the holidays aren’t your favorite time of year, my hope is these new skills will allow you to bring yourself more peace of mind during these often stressful times.
1. Under promise and over deliver.
The first skill Larissa brought to my attention was to under promise and over deliver. We create stress for ourselves when we promise things we may not be able to fulfill. Giving ourselves space to have the ability to over deliver — or not — takes a lot of the pressure off. This skill can also help us to have more secure and loving relationships with those close to us when we are honest about our ability to come through in various situations.
2. Say no like it’s a yes.
Saying “no” is often looked down upon in a culture where we are supposed to be able to handle multiple tasks at once and never let others down. However, saying no allows us to choose for ourselves what we want to save our time for, and what we are able to participate in without jeopardizing our mental health. Larissa urges us to get comfortable with saying no, like how we are comfortable with saying yes, to normalize our right to create boundaries without feeling guilty.
3. Tidy up your tech.
This skill is incredibly important. We are bombarded with various forms of social media and technology on a daily basis, may it be Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, email, or work related apps, and even streaming services such as Netflix. Our phones in particular are packed with various apps that can become incredibly overwhelming. Larissa’s skill focuses on mindfully decluttering our phones by deleting apps we no longer need, or deleting apps that contribute to our stress. The more we simplify our phones, the more peace of mind we will bring to our day. However, this also means it is important to understand which apps bring us comfort or joy, so we can fill our devices with not only the apps we need, but the apps that can be beneficial for our mental health.
4. Indulge in creativity.
This is probably my favorite skill for managing holiday stress. Creativity is so important for managing our mental health, but we often forget about creativity once we reach adulthood. Larissa reminded me it is important to remember our inner child and make time for any form of creativity, such as art or journaling. I personally love making time for knitting, crocheting, and embroidery, and these forms of creativity help me to manage my severe anxiety on a daily basis. But creativity doesn’t have to mean setting aside hours each day to work on a craft. Just take a few minutes out of your day to participate in any form of creativity that you find enjoyable. The main goal is to unplug from technology and engage in activities that allow us to step away from our high-tech lives. Your brain will thank you.
Technology is such an important aspect of our daily lives, but with it comes serious stress and impacts to our mental health. Self-care is now more important than ever while we continue on in this pandemic. Our lives have become highly virtual, and while this is a blessing in many ways, it can be detrimental to our health. I hope that the above skills will help you to manage tech related stress this holiday season. Be kind to yourself, everything is especially hard right now, and you deserve peace of mind. Prioritize your mental health.
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