A photo of a man in a holiday sweater carrying a gift.
Look after yourself first - and 9 other tips to get you through the holidays.Image by: Movember
A photo of a man in a holiday sweater carrying a gift.
7 December 2022

Movember's festive season survival guide

4 minutes read time

What comes to mind when you think of the festive season?

Overexcited kids plied with too much sugar from well-meaning relatives? Uncle Billy retelling the same stories? The passive disapproval at how you parent your kids? The sheer relief of knowing the next one's a full year away?

Oh yeah, there's nothing quite like the festive season…

10 ways to hold it all together during the holidays

Jokes aside, the festive season can be a difficult time for some. Maybe you're worried about your health or finances. Someone you know might be grieving or experiencing a relationship breakdown. Perhaps it's stress – something none of us are immune to, especially after the isolation or loneliness that so many of us lived through in recent times.

Hopefully you're not struggling these holidays. But if you or someone you know is, here are 10 tips to keeping it together.

1) Look after yourself first

We all want to be the best father, partner, brother, son and friend. To be that guy, you need to be at the top of your game, and that means making your own wellbeing a priority. Sometimes, we might need a bit of help. So if you're struggling, consider talking it out with an expert.

2) Check your health…

Life can get busy and in the way of health checks. Still, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men – so make the time to talk to your doctor about screening for prostate cancer if you’re over 50, or over 45 and Black.

And for younger guys: did you know that testicular cancer is the #1 cancer in young men? This season, one of the best things you can do is to know your nuts and what's normal for you – here's how to check yourself for signs of testicular cancer.

3) …and know what to do if something's not right

There's a reason we encourage guys to get checked. It's also normal to feel strong emotions in the event of a cancer diagnosis. If that happens, it can feel overwhelming, but rest assured, you won't be alone. Movember has the tools to guide you through the journey ahead, whether it's tackling testicular cancer or finding support after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

4) Check in with those who might be doing it tough

If there's one thing the last two years have taught us, it's that loneliness and isolation really sucks! For many, the holidays can amplify those feelings. So check in on others. And if you're concerned about another guy, Movember has loads of resources on how to have important conversations.

5) Try something new (or do that thing you've been putting off)

There's no better time to try a new hobby or important pursuit. Ever wanted to become a culinary master? Learn a thing or two about barbering? Be a boss at woodworking? Try sky diving? Make it happen these holidays.

6) Take steps to manage your budget

Gifts and travel put pressure on your wallet. If you're concerned about finances, take active steps to keep things in check. Set realistic expectations on how far the budget goes. Be open and honest with family. And be fully across how credit card interest and buy now, pay later repayments work. The web has loads of resources to get you started.

7) Pay it forward

Did you know that by helping others you also help yourself? That's right – havin' fun and doin' good can also do a lot to improve your own outlook. So leave a generous tip. Give blood. Write a 5-star online review. Volunteer to help those in need. Or donate to a cause you believe in (since you're on this website, consider giving monthly to Movember).

8) Acknowledge that family get-togethers can be difficult

On the Hallmark Channel, holidays have a wholesome conclusion where everyone reconciles. Since life ain't the Hallmark Channel, discuss or plan ahead on how to respond to dramas. That means having realistic expectations. Being kind (chances are, you're not the only one feeling stressed). Not fanning the flames by bringing up flashpoint topics of discussion – and not taking the bait after Uncle Billy had one too many drinks. And on that, stay in control by taking it easy on the alcohol.

9) Help is at hand for parents

Being a parent can be one of life's greatest rewards – and every so often, a source of incredible stress and worry. Just ask any parent running on three hours' sleep. For all the dads, mums and other caregivers, Family Man is Movember's free online parenting program. It has loads of resources on proven parenting strategies, developed by experts.

10) Don’t lose perspective

Your doctor unexpectedly called you in for an appointment, a few days after your annual check-up. The two family members who promised to be civil have blown up at each other. The Apocalypse is here because your daughter dropped her ice cream.

Unexpected things will most likely happen. They'll feel tough in the heat of the moment. But try not to lose sight of why you're here. Think about enjoying the good things. Focus on what is under your control (you can't change Uncle Billy's unwanted opinions, but you can change how you respond). Most importantly, make the most of what you've got. The good will hopefully outweigh the bad.

Even if buying another ice cream for a distraught toddler did not prevent the Apocalypse.