Quick tips to surviving (and enjoying) the Holidays


It seems that stress levels always seem to climb as the holidays come around. This is precisely why it is so helpful to go into this time of year with a plan! Here are a few tips to help you reframe your thinking going into the holidays. Instead of dreading the holidays, you can begin to see this season as an opportunity to learn and enhance your psychological health. Here are my top 5 things to focus on that are pretty much guaranteed to help you enjoy your holidays more.

Take care of yourself first.  

In the world of Psychology we call it “Self Care”. Yes, I know. It feels like a uber-therapeutic phrase, but it is incredibly important. You cannot be everything to everyone, all of the time. You’re at your best when you realize your own limits and set realistic expectations for yourself. When you are less stressed, the people around you will be less stressed. Everyone will benefit and you will enjoy the time you have together. Focus on staying grounded in the present and not worrying about the past or the future. Take (or make) time to the things that bring you life. Read. Listen to music. Surf. Go for a run. Even in the midst of a really busy and full holiday season these are perhaps the most important moments for your overall wellbeing.

Give back.

I actually took the day off today to help a friend get their house ready to put on the market. It felt so good while I was driving home, knowing that I was able to help them out. Giving back, however you are able, will make you feel better. As you help raise the mood of others around you, your mood will inevitably follow. So figure out what that means for you, and then do it. There are tons of resources to get involved with the community around you and most are a quick web search away.

Set realistic expectations.

Have realistic expectations for your holiday season. There has never been a perfect holiday. Let me say that again; there will never be a perfect holiday. The humanity and mistakes we make are what can bring us together or divide us. When things go wrong it can make the best memories. A burned turkey. An overbaked pie. Really, these are opportunities to laugh and be thankful to be alive. So don’t expect perfection, expect to make the best of the times you do have and laugh when you need to laugh.

Be honest.

Seeking support can be hard, but if you have a chance to be honest and open with your family or friends, do it. Talking through issues you have in your life builds intimacy and reduces feelings of loneliness and stress. Sometimes family and friends can seem like the hardest people to talk to about what matters, so be wise in what you do share but branch out and engage with the loved ones around you this season.

Focus on what really matters.

The insane amount of marketing and distractions during the holidays can really make you feel like you’re not doing enough, not buying enough, and not enjoying enough. Spend a few minutes making a short list of the things that you are grateful for and the things that you want to intentionally focus on. If you need a reminder or find yourself slipping into the danger zone in your thinking, pull the list out and take a few minutes to refocus.

And above all, be kind to those around you. While the collective stress levels rise, a little patience and kindness goes a long way with strangers and friends alike. Slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the heck out of your holiday season!


Meet our Clinician and Co-Founder, Drew Konzelman, M.A., LMHCA.

Drew loves adventures and he loves stories. That's one reason he is so passionate about the work he gets to do at Novo Life. Drew specializes in working with people who want to unlock more functional and creative potential within themselves. Issues that get in the way are commonly Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD. He also specializes in LENS Neurofeedback, a revolutionary treatment that improves brain function and reduces a myriad of symptoms in clients.

When he isn’t in the office, he is taking his wife and daughter on adventures around the world. He is passionate about the written Word, surfing, entrepreneurship. If you want to learn more about Drew, or figure out what is holding you back from reaching your full potential, don’t hesitate to connect with Drew, he would love to hear from you!

Drew Konzelman, MA, LMHCA