Stress and the holidays usually go hand in hand, so it is normal to feel a mild sense of stress or even anxiety as the holiday season approaches. However, for some individuals, the pressure to have the ‘perfect’ holiday can be overwhelming. Stress can lead to deeper issues like depression, so it is important to keep a realistic outlook and end the year on a high note!
It is estimated that nearly three-quarters of Americans say they experience stress levels that exceed what they define as healthy. As the holidays approach, those numbers increase. Are YOU a part of that statistic? Stress, depression and anxiety can seriously affect your health and put a damper on holiday celebrations. It is important to put things in perspective. Prioritize what is really important. Revisit your definition and your expectations of the holiday season.
Tips for dealing with stress:
1) Take time for yourself – often people interpret this as being selfish but if we don’t take care of ourselves (mind, body and spirit), we have less to give to others. Remember that you are only one person and can only accomplish so much. Go for a walk through your neighborhood and look at light displays, listen to your favorite music or make time to just sit and drink hot cider. A simple 15-minute “breather” without distractions may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. All of us need time to recharge our batteries – slow down, take care of yourself and you’ll find you have more energy to give.
2) Be realistic – The holidays do not have to be perfect. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals change, too. If wish lists are outside of what is in your budget, it is okay to discuss financial challenges and remind children and others what really makes a great celebration. When we overextend ourselves financially, this only paves the way for more stress down the road. We may fret about a burned turkey, tasteless casserole or lopsided tree, but look at these things as memory-makers and a chance to laugh.
3) Reach out to others – If you tend to feel lonely or isolated during the holidays, seek out social, community or church-related activities and events. Volunteering your time can lift your spirits, broaden your sense of giving and offer the opportunity to make new friends.
4) Remember what’s important – examine what means the most to you during the holiday season – your definition of a great holiday celebration.
5) Reach out for support – it is okay to acknowledge and take time to express your feelings. Talk about your anxieties with your friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate through your thoughts and feelings and work towards a solution for your stress. If you are persistently sad, anxious, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless or unable to face daily routines, you may need to reach out for professional help. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Despite our best intentions, sometimes the holidays do catch up with us. If you or someone you know needs help dealing with the emotions that often surface during the holidays, there is help and hope available.
Visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com or call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673) for more information.