The holiday season is beautiful; the magical snow, the twinkling lights and decorations, the warm family gatherings and the delicious food. It’s indeed a season to be jolly. But not always so. While the expectations to be happy and joyful can be daunting, it’s only true that the holiday season can bring with it quite a few blues. The stress of hosting and attending dinner parties, and the shopping for gift-giving can all take a toll on a person’s mental well-being. Not to mention the fact, that it can be a lonely and depressing time of the year for people who have had a falling out with friends or family. Spending the holidays alone, while everyone around you is having a great time can definitely put a damper on your mood, and leave you feeling upset and depressed.
While some stress is inevitable, it’s important to keep it in check before it gets out of hand and become an all-consuming state of mind. We’ve listed a few ways to keep such negative feelings and emotions in check, so read on to find out how you can have a smooth sailing this holiday season.
Set your priorities
It’s quite common to get involved in many activities during the holidays which can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, it is important to decide the traditions you want for yourself and your family, while skipping the rest. Eliminate superfluous activities while holding on to the traditions you and your family cherish. For example, instead of attending every caroling, shopping visiting trip, pick a few and stick to them. Also, when dealing with difficult relatives, it’s okay to set limits on what you are and are not willing to do, including forgoing your visits or limiting them to every other year.
Mindful eating and spending
Holidays are marked by abundance and in many cases, an overabundance. Excessive parties and dinners often result in excessive eating and drinking. Overindulgence in food, desserts and drinks can cause lasting stress of dealing with consequences such as weight gain, feeling bloated and sluggish. Not to mention how embarrassing it can often be. Also, it’s better to find affordable gifts for your loved ones that to take on debt that can linger long after the season is over. Holiday debt is something that too many people take on unwisely and then stress with it can for months afterwards.
Examine your feelings
Sometimes it’s okay to sit down with the feelings you are experiencing. Whether it be sadness and loneliness due to being away from family, or mourning over the loss of a loved one. Or the stress of having to host and deal with a large family every. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings if you want to mindfully deal with them. Pushing down feelings often leads to depression. Let yourself feel. Then recharge and deal with things head on.
Connect with others
While it may be easy to get pulled into the feelings of sadness and loneliness, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are many people who experience the same feelings this time around of the year. And connecting with those people can be helpful not only for you, but putting a smile on someone else’s face can make you feel happier and lighter. So call up a friend you haven’t spoken in a long time. Visit a neighbor you know is going through a rough patch in her relationship. Invite over a colleague you know is also spending the holidays alone. Give back to the community, you might consider volunteering to help those less fortunate than yourself, and cultivate gratitude at being alive and healthy.
Change your expectations
Part of the reason why holidays can be so stressful and depressing is the expectations we attach to them. It’s okay to be single, it’s okay to be at odds with your family during the holidays, just as much as it is okay during rest of the year. So re-thinking your expectations can be a good way to deal with the negative emotions. Realize that hardly anyone’s life is perfect and most of what we see on social media around this time is just a small part of the entire reality.
So if your family is a difficult one, or you’ve parted with a loved one, or you’re single, it’s completely fine. Also, with family and friends, it’s very important to be aware of your limitations. Limiting gatherings can still make the holidays special and joyous without draining you. It’s better to meet less but with love and care then feeling obliged to meet up often just for the sake of the holidays and not enjoying one bit. Choose wisely!
Breathe and meditate
Lastly, don’t forget to take care of your health. Stick to your meditating and exercise routine to feel energized and healthy. Give yourself a break, and take deep breaths that can help clear your mind and reduce your level of negative stress in a matter of minutes. Unwind with your favorite cup of tea at the end of the day (we recommend chamomile herbal tea. It will definitely help you deal with anxiety!). And most importantly, be kind to yourself.
We wish you all a happy holiday season!