When the holiday season comes around, most people imagine a boost of instant joy. Our days are filled with traditions to keep, trees to trim, food to eat, friends to catch up with, and smiles for everyone. The holidays are meant to be joyful, but for some they bring about unwelcome stress, depression and anxiety. With some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that comes with the holidays.
Acknowledge how you feel.
Recognize feelings of sadness and grief and express those feelings. If someone close to you passed away recently or you can’t be with your loved ones, it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. You can’t force yourself to feel happy just because it’s the holidays. It is okay to feel sad and express your emotions during this difficult time.
Seek community when feeling isolated or lonely. Community, religious, and social events can provide a social connection. Volunteering your time can also lift your spirits and help you branch out to make new friends.
Be flexible, realistic, and don’t expect perfection. The holiday does not have to be perfect. It also doesn’t have to be exactly like last year. People and families grow and change, and their traditions and rituals will as well.
Set aside differences.
Try to be accepting of others. Not everyone will agree all the time. You might have some friends and family who don’t meet your expectations. Try to set aside your grievances until a more appropriate time. Also, be understanding. If someone gets upset because something took an unexpected turn, try to remember they probably feel the holiday stress too.
Make a plan.
Mark the days you plan on shopping, baking, ect. on your calendar. Plan menus and shopping lists to minimize last minute trips to the store. Be sure to give yourself extra time at the store in case of long lines and traffic problems.
Stick to a budget
Before you go shopping for gifts or food, make a plan. How much are you going to spend? What are you planning to buy? Decide how much you can afford. Then, stick to your plan. Don’t try to buy your family’s happiness with cascades of gifts and yummy food. If you’re looking for some ways to cut costs, suggest a family gift exchange rather than buying individual gifts. Potlucks are also a great way to share entertaining costs and try new recipes.
Learn to say no.
Overextending yourself can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Your time is valuable. Decide what matters most to you and budget your time accordingly. If you are unable to say no to something (such as overtime at work) remove something else from your schedule to make up for the time. Remember to keep things balanced.
Keep your healthy habits.
Overindulgence will only add more stress and guilt to your current mood. Then being stressed, you’ll seek more unhealthy food, stationary activities, etc. It’s a downward cycle. Continue to eat regular, healthy meals, drink plenty of water and enjoy holiday treats in moderation. Allow yourself plenty of time to exercise and to get plenty of sleep.
It is the holidays after all. Try carving out at least 15 minutes a day where you can be alone and free from distractions to clear your mind. Find something you can do that will reduce your stress level. Examples:
- Take a walk
- Listen to soothing music
- Get a massage
- Read a book
- Take a bubble bath
Seek professional help if you need it.
If you find yourself unable to shake feelings of sadness or anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, hopelessness, are unable to complete daily tasks, or are having other physical symptoms please speak to your health care provider. It is okay to ask for help
We’re here for more than colds and flu. We care about your anxiety and stress as well. Remember that most people experience feelings of anxiety at one point or another in their lives. It is nothing to feel uncomfortable or ashamed of. It can be difficult to talk about your feelings, even with a healthcare provider you’ve known for years. EliteCare is here to guide your through the healing process so you can have a happier and healthier holiday with your family! Call us at (662) 348-3342 to schedule an appointment.