The holidays have approached and between now and the New Year there will be lots to celebrate with our family and friends. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s create a time to shop, be thankful, mingle with our family, attend lots of parties and drink and be merry. However, the paradox to this supposedly happy season is that for some, the holidays bring stress, depression, loneliness, anger, and anxiety.
For many people the holiday season comes with a number of concerns. 1) Am I economically stable enough to buy all the gifts that I need to buy for family and friends; 2) How much of my overbearing family can I take this year; 3) Should I be feeling as depressed and lonely as I am since my loved one is not here to celebrate with me; 4) With all of the shopping and cleaning and preparing for guest, I’m starting to feel exhausted and emotionally drained; 5) The holiday I’m having seems to be very different from the holiday that I think I should be having.
Ok, so here are some strategies to help reduce the stress and worry so that you can enjoy this holiday season and even more to come.
- Know that there are two kinds of stress, Eustress and Distress. The first is what we need to keep us motivated to get a task done or make deadlines we set for ourselves. The latter is bad stress, the kind that will wear and tear on our bodies physically and has an adverse affect on our emotional well being. The first thing you need to do is recognize when you start to feel stressed before it gets out of hand.
- It’s important to tell yourself that December 25th is only one day and that doesn’t mean you need to spend so much that you will be paying the debt well into the New Year and possibly to the next holiday season. Don’t be afraid to ask the person what it is that they want as a gift. You’ll be surprised at how small item tailored gifts can bring the biggest smile on Christmas day.
- For those special family members who each year you hate to see coming, speak up about their bad behavior and set clear expectations (ie. Don’t drink excessively or don’t shout at the kids).
- Acknowledge your feelings if you’re lonely, shed some tears if need be. It’s ok. Fighting against these feelings will only further exacerbate your sadness that may lead to depression and anxiety.
- Lower your expectations for not only the holiday season but often in your life. Too high of an expectation leads to disappointment which can easily turn into anger and lead to even more serious physical health issues.
Remember to schedule time for yourself, exercise, say no when you need to, ask for help when needed, and best of all, BUY YOURSELF A GIFT!!!!!! Wishing you and your family the best holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Blessings in the New Year.