It’s October already!!! Sheesh! I swear Valentine’s Day was just the other day! How have you guys been? I’ve been away for a while. Sorry. I recently took a trip to South Africa with my friends and it was pure amazement. Words can’t describe the greatness I experienced on that trip. Fun times for sure. We were away for twelve days so getting back into the groove of things is taking me a few days but I am almost there. One thing that is for sure is that the holidays will wait on no one. Halloween is just around the corner and after that, the holidays will come at us like a speeding freight train. Tis the season for celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah and for most people it is a fun time of the year filled with parties and social gatherings with family and friends. But for many people, between stressful end-of-year deadlines, family dysfunction and loss, poor eating and drinking habits, and increasingly cold and dark winter days, it’s easy for the holiday season to feel not-so-merry and bright.
Certain people may feel anxious or depressed around the winter holidays due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as seasonal depression. Balancing the demands of shopping, financial stress, endless parties, family obligations, and house guests may contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased tension. People who do not view themselves as depressed may develop stress responses. People who deal with depression need to be especially careful when coping with holiday stress. Since we are all working on being better versions of ourselves I figured it’d be a good idea to jump on this before we are even triggered. So here are some tips on how to reduce the holiday stress and maybe even find ways to be jolly too.
Plan ahead and reach out
For those of us that are experiencing another holiday season without a family member, this one is really important. Hopefully, you have a social circle or a group of friends that you can reach out to and make plans with. I know for me originally I felt like, “oh no, I don’t want to impose”. Do it anyway! You’ll be glad that you did. If someone invites you to dinner or to a social gathering, accept the invitation.
Or plan to have dinner at your favorite restaurant, see a movie you’ve been wanting to see. Try not to do that alone though. Check in with your circles, or join a meetup group and make new friends. Another cool thing to look into is volunteering in the community.
Make new family traditions
People often feel compelled to keep family holiday traditions alive long past the point that anyone’s actually enjoying them. Don’t keep them going for their own sake. Spending all night cooking dinner every Christmas can be a little draining. Especially on the cook. Try something different. Order food, have brunch instead of dinner. Create traditions that have more meaning to you personally. If your family doesn’t have many traditions, or you think it’s time to add some new ones, take the initiative to organize one this year.
Forget about the perfect gift
This can be this most overwhelming for people like me who are very adamant about people liking the gift that you buy. The expectation level can be way too high and it really takes the fun and joy out of gift giving. Try shopping online in advance. Save yourself the inconvenience, the crowds, and the horrors of the mall parking lot by doing the bulk of your shopping online. And try to stick to a budget!! The cost of holiday shopping adds up quickly. This can be a trigger for stress and anxiety. So draw up a budget now and jot down some gift ideas and get to clicking!
This is the most important one for me. Check in with you! If you’re at a part and it’s getting late and you are ready to leave, take yo butt home! Don’t stay out all night or be up all night wrapping presents. This will disrupt your schedule and losing out on sleep can make your mood deteriorate. Exercising, I know will probably make you frown as you read it, however, exercise has a strong anti-anxiety, anti-depression effect. Eat sensibly, try your best not to overeat. Eating healthy may keep you feeling better physically and emotionally. On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if you do dive in on a cookie platter. You’ll live to fight another day.
I hope these tips help you. They’ll help me for sure. If you have some tips to add/share, leave them down in the comment section. Until next time my friends…be kind to yourself!