How to Cope this Holiday Season

How to Cope this Holiday Season

The Holiday Season can hold so much hope for so many people. It is true joy to be surrounded by family and friends, heartwarming decorations, heartfelt movies, and songs with catchy tunes like “tidings of comfort and joy”.

However, most people do not exist in a Hallmark holiday movie.  There are many who are alone, going through financial hardship, emotional times, and family issues; all which can lead to mood shift and an increase in mental health symptoms. While the holidays may be magical and joyous, then can also be filled with stress, making your head spin like a Hannukah dreidel.

To recenter, and keep unwanted emotions at bay, remind yourself of the following…

THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE GRATEFUL FOR

Half the battle in navigating stress is through coping. If we put a positive spin on the negative thoughts and feelings, we can offset vulnerability and avoid stress.

To enjoy the holidays, keep the following in mind…

Have awareness and acknowledge what is bothering you. Be clear about both your needs and expectations. Sorting out the root of the problem is a positive first step in challenging negative thoughts and stress.

Outline your day and identify what is manageable. It is okay to say no to minimize stress. Try not to overextend financially on food and gifts. While it may feel good in the moment, the credit card bill will show up eventually.

Look past old grudges and grievances and celebrate life with your family and friends. Just because someone was rude the last time you met, doesn’t mean this holiday will be the same. Remind yourself to live in the moment, to enjoy!  If someone says something hurtful, try to find humor and pity in it, it is their problem so don’t make it yours.

Initiate- don’t wait until it is the day of your holiday to look for companionship. Touch base with family and friends and suggest holidays together, let them know you have nothing planned. No local family? Community and religious groups often have holidays open to the public where you can join in and share the day.

Delegate – If you stress over getting things done with limited time, try some advanced planning and pace yourself. Delegating to guests can also be supportive and a way to learn new recipes. Plus, its less dishes you have to cook.

Avail yourself to others – Volunteer your time. Lifting someone’s spirits and circumstances can often lift your own too.

You need to set realistic goals -as your family grows, so do their obligations to their significant others. Your family may have to spread out from their past sharing of holidays with you to be with in-laws. Facetime can take away some of the sting of not having everyone around you.

Keep your sense of humor and try to find the positive in every situation. Wouldn’t you rather laugh than cry? Spin a grin!

Examples:

  • Rather than be sad of who cannot be with you at the holiday, rejoice in who can.
  • Okay, the turkey was dry, but the ham was killer good.
  • Grandma spilled her wine, but everyone got a good laugh about it.
  • Be mindful and focus on enjoying the present!
  • Take shortcuts, no one cares. They are so happy to be there with you!
  • Pace yourself
  • Plan some fun for yourself and others
  • Know your limits, don’t get overwhelmed!
  • Take a pause to look around you and enjoy the day!
  • But by all means, be smart, please.
  • If you are currently in therapy, stay in therapy. Don’t take a break during the holiday season.
  • Acknowledge feelings of grief and loss, honor and celebrate them, sharing treasured stories.
  • If you feel yourself being sucked under with sadness, reach out to family, friends, or professionals. While your struggle can make you feel isolated, you are far from alone.

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