By: Sadie Foster, MA
While the holidays can be a time of great joy and peace, many find that they are times of great stress, depression and anxiety. Be honest with yourself upfront – attack the issues not each other! Let’s take a look at some of the issues and consider how to minimize and prevent them.
What are some of the typical reasons for feeling down this time of year?
The seasonal changes that occur throughout much of the country. It is reported that during this time of year, with its changes in weather, time, and sunlight many people will experience a decreases in energy, interest in pleasure, healthy sleep patterns, connection with others and overall sadness.
Memories of lost loved ones.
Most people have the desire to spend the holidays with loved ones. Some of the most cherished memories are created around this time of year. It can be very painful to relive some of those memories or create new ones when a loved one is no longer with us.
The holidays falling at the end of the year also serve as a reminder that the yearend has arrived. There may be uncompleted goals, wished and desires to face. For some, watching others who seem to be experiencing “perfect happiness” without considering that no life is completely perfect nor without effort, can spark many dark feelings.
Lack of self care
Now is not the time to skimp on sleep, fill up on junk food, skip meals, over schedule yourself, indulge in unhealthy activities, skip exercise, or play superman or superwoman. All of these things are common this time of year and contribute to feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety.
What can you do to minimize the negative and maximize the positive?
Take care of each other.
Now is an excellent time to get as much sunlight as you can, stick to an exercise routine, get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, make and follow plans, and ask for help when you need it. As you are a team – lift each other up as well as hold each other accountable.
Recognize That You and Your Loved Ones May Have Mixed Feelings.
Remember feelings aren’t good or bad – they just are. Recognize that your feelings may go up and down, or change quickly. Choose not to let your feelings rule you.
Design Your Holiday
Given your current situation, how would you like your holidays to look? What experiences would you like to create? How can you make those things happen? Planning is crucial to giving yourself the best chance to enjoy the season.
Don’t Be Afraid To Leave Some Things Out
There are lots of different holiday traditions. Some that you may enjoy fully, some that you could do without, and others that just don’t work right now. Ask yourself as you consider which activities and traditions to keep up with questions like the following to help you decide which activities to let go of for the season.
· Will we still enjoy the season without it?
· Are we doing this because we feel we “have” too?
· Does it cause more stress to participate?
· Is there a safety risk involved?
· Is there someone else that can complete this task for us?
· Do we even like participating?
Concerning Gifts – Remember The Greatest Gift You Can Give is Love.
Try not to allow yourself to be caught in the trap of overspending or feeling guilty because your financial priorities are focused elsewhere. Do not create debt and regret over material things. If you plan to purchase gifts – set a budget. Give the gifts of Peace– choosing not to argue over unimportant things. Time – focus on yourself and your loved ones. Take the time to create cherished memories. Rest– take breaks without running all over tiring yourself and others out. The Moment– chose to live right here, right now – not in yesterday, not in tomorrow but right now. Enjoy the moment – it will never pass this way again.
With love and blessings,