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CFDH Pandemic Holiday Survival Guide

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Unusual for me, today I had a morning news show on while I got ready for the day. And at a certain point, they started talking about baking, and pies, and holiday travel, and…wait. Holiday??? Huh??? Suddenly it dawned on me that the holidays are HERE!

The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without a CFDH Survival Guide! So here you go.

This year I think we would all be served by a guide that focuses on how to combat holiday STRESS. I know I’ve been living with a chronic, low-grade stress since this pandemic began, in spite of my efforts to combat it. The stress struggle-bus is real, and the holidays tend to exacerbate it. And although we may not be able to gather as we usually do, we can still take some time this season to reflect, relax, and recharge.

Rather than simply hear and internalize advice, I personally find it helpful to make tiny, actionable changes that help me build new habits. So as my gift to you, I’ve included some suggestions that you can implement right away!

Here are 3 ways to combat stress this holiday season:

1. Get plenty of sleep.
Seriously. If you do nothing else, find a way to get those 8 or so hours of quality sleep.

Tiny changes to help with sleep:
1. When I hear my alarm go off in the morning, I will get up without hitting snooze.

2. When I put my shoes on in the morning, I will go outside to get some natural light.

3. When I see it is after 3 pm, I will choose to drink water instead of coffee.

4. When I finish with my dinner, I will dim the lights around the house (and perhaps my nifty blue-blocking glasses).

5. When I get into bed and am not sleepy, I will open a relaxing book to read.


2. Control what you can, and let the rest go.
Things you can control include sticking with your exercise routine, making a plan to handle holiday meals, and drinking enough water. Things you can’t control include COVID restrictions, whether or not other people are following the rules, and what others expect of you.

Tiny changes:
1. When I choose to get exercise, I will commit and show up on time.

2. When I take a break during work, I will drink a fresh glass of water.

3. When I plan our holiday meal, I will choose at least one healthy-ish dish to make.

4. When I hear negative thoughts, I will close my eyes and take 3 cleansing breaths.

5. When I lie down in bed to sleep, I will think about one thing I’m grateful for.


3. Carve out “me” time.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t be fully present for others. This can be big blocks of time or small moments within your day.

Tiny me-time changes:
1. When I wake up in the morning, I will open a window and take a few deep breaths through my nose.

2. When I sit down with my coffee, I will peacefully read my favorite book for 20 minutes.

3. When I start each week, I will chose one 2-hour block of time and take myself on a date.

4. When I finish my lunch, I will go outside and meditate for 10 minutes.

5. When I get upset with a family member, I will take a walk around the block alone.


Remember, your Dark Horse family is here for you! For more holiday guides, check out our past blog posts:

Dark Horse Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Survive the Holidays with New Traditions

CFDH Guide to Surviving the Holidays v.3

Monday’s With Mike: Enjoy A Holiday Dinner Without The Holiday Weight Gain

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