I love the Holiday’s this is my favorite time of the year. Beginning with Thanksgiving where all of my family gather together and enjoy eating, fun, eating, laughter, eating, watching football, sharing what we are thankful for and oh did I say eating? Then Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of Christ, giving and receiving gifts and of course eating Christmas Dinner.
Now don’t get me wrong even though I love the holidays they can still be stressful and I have learned to plan ahead as much as possible and to practice self-care. I also realize that this time of the year can be very difficult especially if you have lost a loved one or you experience seasonal depression and anxiety.
Holiday Blues can affect anyone even if you love the holidays. It is so important to know the causes, your particular triggers and how to cope.
What causes Holiday Blues?
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Financial constraints
- Grief & Loss
Know Your Trigger Points
- Physical Demands
Coping with Stress, Depression & Anxiety
- Acknowledge your feelings. If a loved one has recently died or you aren’t able to be with your loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness or grief. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one, a “memory stocking” or light a candle in memory of the person you lost.
- Be realistic. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Hold on to those you can and want to. Set differences aside. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Practice forgiveness. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
- Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make one big food-shopping trip. Expect travel delays, especially if you’re flying.
- Learn to say no. Believe it or not, people will understand if you can’t do certain projects or activities. If you say yes only to what you really want to do, you’ll avoid feeling resentful, bitter and overwhelmed.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a dietary free-for-all. Some indulgence is OK, but overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Continue to get plenty of sleep and schedule time for physical activity.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Steal away to a quiet place for a few moments of solitude.
- Forget about perfection. Holiday TV specials are filled with happy endings. But in real life, people don’t usually resolve problems within an hour or two. Accept imperfections in yourself and in others.
- Seek support. If you feel isolated or down, seek out family members and friends, or community, religious or social services. They can offer support and companionship. Consider volunteering at a community or religious function.
*Skip it. Really. If you just can’t deal with the holiday’s it’s ok to take a break this year. But before you get to this extreme consider if you can simplify it.
When to Seek Professional Help
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 several weeks, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. You may need some type of low dose medication.
What is most important is not in the holiday parties, shopping, gift giving or festivities, it’s in the real meaning of giving thanks for our many blessings and celebrating the greatest gift of all-Jesus. I wish you love, joy and peace during this holiday season.