December 11, 2019
Coping during the holidays
It's holiday season and this can mean different things to different people. The holidays can be a time of reconnecting with loved ones, travel, and relaxation. This time of year can also be a source of stress, depression, and loss for others. Being realistic, planning ahead, and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression. With some tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays.
1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently passed away or you aren't able to be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's okay to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
3. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. and be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
4. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like the previous year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails, or videos.
5. Stick to a budget (referenced in last weeks newsletter). Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Try these alternatives:
- Donate to a charity in someone's name.
- Give homemade gifts.
- Start a family gift exchange.
6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends, and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That will help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. if it's not possible to say no, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
8. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refressh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find osomething that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Some options may include:
- Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
- Listening to soothing music.
- Getting a massage.
- Reading a book.
9. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Taking steps to prevent the stress and depression than can descend during the holidays can help reduce negative feelings. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.
We would love to hear additional ways you cope with holiday stress, so tweet us @TheTigerSuite!