7 Ways to Unplug During the Holidays
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Until the stress sets in, that is.
The holidays give us lots to look forward to: time with friends and family, festive celebrations, and plenty of delicious treats. But they can also bring heaps of anxiety and exhaustion in the form of endless to-do lists, hectic travel, and a steady stream of social obligations.
This year, commit to surviving the hustle and bustle by taking care of your mental and physical health. Here are seven ways to unplug, unwind, and stay present during the holiday season.
1. Turn off notifications for at least 2 hours each day.
Emails, texts, and social media constantly bombard our phones with notifications. While Instagram likes or holiday sale alerts may provide momentary hits of the feel-good brain chemical dopamine, they can also be serious distractions that leave you feeling even more overwhelmed during an already busy time of year.
But here's a little secret: most of those notifications don't require immediate attention! Give yourself a mini-digital detox by turning them off for a couple of hours each day.
Many phones have built-in "snooze" or "do not disturb" modes that temporarily pause notifications. Try silencing (or just avoiding) your phone for an hour first thing in the morning and again right before bed. Doing so will allow you to ease into the day and may even help improve your sleep quality at night.
2. Delete social media apps from your phone.
If you need a more substantial break from technology, try deleting your social media apps from your phone. For many people, checking social media is a mindless habit. (Unlock phone. Open app. Scroll mindlessly. Repeat.) Before you know it, you've wasted twenty minutes watching viral recipe videos and cat content.
By removing the apps from your home screen, you'll still be able to access your accounts from your computer or phone's browser but will be forced to think twice before you scroll. You'll also be able to handle some common pitfalls that can accompany social media use better—like fear of missing out (FOMO) and unhealthy comparison.
3. Take some time for self-care.
When your calendar is already jam-packed with holiday commitments and end-of-year deadlines, it can take a lot of work to carve out time for yourself. But self-care is essential during the holidays. Schedule some "me time" each day, even if it's just 10 minutes of stretching or a quick walk.
If you absolutely can't add another thing to your calendar, try amping up the relaxation factor in your existing habits. Gift yourself some luxurious skin care products or new bedding to make your daily routines feel like extra special rituals.
You can also swap out your existing shower head for a smart shower head from hai to turn your daily rinse into a refreshing treat. hai has a full range of restorative spray settings—from a rainshower stream to a spa-like mist—and immersive coverage that make every shower feel like a mini-retreat. Plus, hai shower heads are ridiculously easy to install, so you can enjoy luxury—without growing your to-do list.
4. Decorate for comfort.
Deck your halls with something cozy. Sure, twinkling lights and towering trees are festive favorites, but why not create a holiday aesthetic that promotes relaxation?
Feel free to stray from traditional holiday colors or symbols when decorating. (Unless they bring you joy, of course!) Instead, pick colors, patterns, and textures that give you a sense of peace and calm. Fill your space with soft blankets and pillows for holiday cuddles. Set a scented scene with candles or diffusers that remind you of a special time or place.
5. Choose how you spend your time.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the frenzy of holiday invites and obligations, but try to stay mindful of how you're spending your time. You might not be able to do it all, and that's OK!
Instead of overcommitting and saying yes to everyone and everything, figure out your priorities and allocate your time accordingly. Ask yourself, "What makes this time of year special to me?" Is it hosting your annual holiday party? Baking cookies? Decorating? Playing board games with your family? Focus on the few activities that really matter to you, so you have the energy to enjoy the season.
6. Set up an out-of-office reply that makes your life easier.
If you're hoping to unplug from work during the holidays, you can set up an auto-responder to help manage any inbox chaos. Instead of just stating the dates you'll be gone, request that anyone who emails you message you again once you return. Doing so should help you manage expectations and prioritize replies once you're back at work.
If you can only step away from work partially, you can still optimize the time you spend checking email. Set up filters and folders for your most important emails. Then, only check those folders rather than getting sucked into the black hole of your entire inbox.
7. Let go of perfectionism.
There's no such thing as perfect. We all know it, but it's still hard to let go of high expectations for the holidays. If you tend to set an impossibly high bar, then feel upset when festivities don’t live up to your standards, practice setting realistic expectations. Give yourself permission to enjoy whatever unfolds.
Practice mindful breathing and positive self-talk when you find yourself getting worked up over things that don't go according to plan. Remind yourself that it's OK to let things go, and try your best to move past any perfectionism-related angst.
There will be lots of packages to unwrap this holiday season, but the best gift you can give yourself is staying present. (Pun entirely intended.) As 2022 draws to a close, remember to take the time to disconnect from work, technology, and your endless to-do list. Appreciating the little moments—whether snuggling up with a good book or enjoying quality time with loved ones—will help you thrive and prepare to take on the year ahead.
Happy holidays from hai!