The holidays are right around the corner and many of us are busy with preparations; visions of happy gatherings, bonding over delicious family meals and other traditions fill our thoughts.
For some however, the holidays are also a time of heightened stress and anxiety. You may be worried about finding the perfect gifts or concerned about the financial strain that comes with doing so. Perhaps you are burdened with travel itineraries or juggling too many commitments.
If you suffer from depression or recently experienced a loss, this time of year can be especially difficult. You may find yourself shying away from it all, finding solace in isolation, only to fall into a deeper depression.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your stress level under control and better enjoy the holidays:
- Get Organized – You’re already busy and the holidays will add even more responsibilities to your load. Make lists of everything you need to do and keep track of, including friends and relatives you want to visit with, gifts you need to purchase, Holiday dinner preparations, etc. Then, set aside 30 minutes to plan the week ahead and organize activities that you can easily bundle together on the same day.
- Create a Budget & Stick With It – The holidays can add financial strain if you don’t plan ahead. So, once you’ve made your lists, set a spending limit based on what you can afford. Remember that holiday joy is not measured in materialistic gains. Giving a gift that is thoughtful and personal is always the best way to show someone you care about them, regardless of what it costs.
- Be Realistic – Understand that things may not always go as planned and this is ok. Focus on the traditions and relationships that are most meaningful to you and you instead of worrying about making every little detail perfect.
- Share Some Goodness – Think of 1 or 2 things you can do each week to spread some goodness in your community. You can read to your children, bring food to a sick friend or donate clothes you don’t use to a charity, among other things. Nothing feels better than giving of yourself to help others.
- Eat Healthy – Eating right during the holidays is not as difficult as it seems. The key is to keep a regular meal schedule, make smart choices, exercise portion control and limit your alcohol intake.
- Get Enough Rest – With so much to do, it’s even more important to take short breaks between activities and above all, get a good night sleep. Being well rested will help you bet better prepared to enjoy the season.
- Ask For Help – Don’t try to take everything on by yourself. Instead, include friends and family into the preparations. This is an excellent to bond with your children, siblings and other loved ones. If you do feel overwhelmed with anxiety or feel that you are struggling with depression, please make an effort to talk to someone about it. Family and friends can be very supportive, but sometimes speaking to a professional counselor can be very helpful in dealing with the stress.
To learn more about AccessHealth’s Behavioral Health services and how to meet with one of our Mental Health Counsellors, please visit: http://www.myaccesshealth.org/behavioral-care.html