Sure, the presents are opened, but the one gift that just seems to keep on giving for many is holiday stress.
Like the bills that come after Christmas, the stressors don’t magically disappear come Dec. 26. They might come decorated as depression or leave you wrapped with anxiety for numerous reasons, but there are steps you can take and things you should consider that may help you muddle through the Yuletide blues and onto a happier and healthier new year.
A recent article on Psychologytoday.com examines some of the issues that affect mental health around the holidays, and lists five ways you can help yourself maintain your psychological well-being.
In a classic TV Christmas special, Charlie Brown finds himself feeling melancholy with Christmas around the corner, due partially to his perception of the commercialization of the holiday. If you’ve felt pressured to spend more than you did last year, there are ways to alleviate that pressure.
Do some soul-searching and determine the real reasons you celebrate the holidays the way you do. Perhaps store-bought gifts are not the best way for you to go. If you still plan on buying gifts, plan ahead and stick to a budget.
Consider using your own unique understanding of your loved ones and your creativity to come up with a different way of showing them what they mean to you, that comes from the heart.
Donating some of your time and/or talents to pay it forward can also prove to be uplifting.
Nobody is telling you to skip your childrens’ holiday pageants, just to steer clear of the drama that sometimes arises when there is an increase of social gatherings and thus, an increase in your chances of contacting somebody who rarely makes your “nice” list.
It is recommended to be more accepting of the actions of others as their own, while not forcing yourself into situations where you compromise your own standards for behavior.
Holiday gatherings provide ample opportunity to over-eat or binge drink, but it is much healthier to instead pay close attention for possible triggers, and to keep the company of more positive people.
There’s a very good chance you don’t want to be grilled about any recent changes in relationships, employment status, or anything else you wish to keep personal.
You can prepare for the possibility of nosy people by first deciding what topics make you uncomfortable, and possible ways to shift conversation should they be brought up.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with voicing your desire to avoid a particular subject, but simply excusing yourself from the conversation may be your most comfortable coping tool.
Maybe your biggest stressor is something you have very little control over, like the mental well-being of others you hold dear. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports 64 percent of people living with mental illness experience the holiday blues.
There may not be anything concrete you can do for your loved one, no matter how badly you wish to help them enjoy the holidays. Respect their space, but also be there for them in whatever way they need.
Loved ones lost
It is normal to feel the loss of loved ones more strongly around holidays, because the occasion reminds you of their absence. If still in mourning, allow the process to continue and acknowledge your feelings. This will also help not bury emotions. You can always create a new tradition for honoring your departed loved ones around the holidays.
The holiday treats are never calorie-free, and your holiday season will most likely never be stress-free, but you can certainly be ready to better deal with whatever it throws at you.