This time of year is affectionately known as “The Holidays.” For many, the holidays are a time of happiness, joy, excitement, and thankfulness. But for some, instead of being the “most wonderful time of the year”, it can be dreaded and uncomfortable. This phenomenon is known as the Holiday blues. Symptoms of the holiday blues vary from person to person, but most commonly include fatigue, depression, headaches, inability to sleep, or excessive sleepiness, anxiety, and an overall feeling of sadness. There are many factors that can contribute to the onset of the holiday blues such as recent loss of a loved one, financial troubles, or increased levels of stress sometimes due to events associated with the holidays themselves. This can be a very difficult time for those of us who do not have the coping skills necessary to deal with all the holidays can bring. Here are some tips for how to prevent and manage those Holiday Blues so you can experience the joys of the season.
- Set realistic expectations.
Is important to be realistic about what you can and cannot handle. We often fail to establish reasonable goals for our time, finances, and abilities; especially during the Holiday Season. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, cooking, cleaning; the demands of the season can quickly become overwhelming. When inappropriate expectations are not met, it can lead to feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and stress. Setting appropriate expectations allows us to experience a higher sense of accomplishment when we are able to meet and possibly exceed those expectations.
- Make a list… or two
List making is one of life’s little treasures! It allows us to prioritize what needs to be done, and creates organization. Take a few moments to sit down and iron out all of the details for your family’s holiday season and be sure to keep it handy for quick reference. Check off your accomplishments as you complete them and watch as that seemingly massive list dwindles; along with your stress level.
- Make time for you.
There was a time when the holidays were peaceful and serene. Long gone are the days of sitting by the fireside roasting marshmallows and sipping eggnog. In this fast paced world we now live in, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the holiday shuffle. It is important, however, to find time for self-care. 10- 15 minutes a day of peace and me time can make a world of difference. Use this time to gather your thoughts, and throw them out the window. Just be. We often find it most difficult to think of ourselves during this time of year when we are “supposed” to be thinking about everybody else. But the reality is that when you are the person responsible for making the holidays a success in your household, if you’re not okay, nobody is okay. This makes your well being a top priority! Take some time to secure your most valuable asset, your sanity. Trust me, your family will thank you for it.
- Be present and Start something new.
One of the most difficult things to manage during the holidays can be the memories of past traditions, and loved ones who are no longer with us. While it can be helpful to briefly and affectionately look back on the happy moments we once experienced, it can be counter-productive to dwell on them in a yearning fashion. Being present and in the moment allows us to fully experience the warmth and love that currently surrounds us. Each year brings about the opportunity to create new traditions and make sure that those who are still with us know just how much we love them. Focus on making new memories that you and your family will be able to cherish for years to come.
- Know your limitations.
Probably the most important thing you can do in maneuvering this holiday season is to ask for help when you need it. Coincidentally, this can also be the most difficult thing to do; but good leaders know how to delegate responsibility. Getting everyone involved in holiday planning gives you a chance to take a breath, if but for only a moment, and ensures that the people you are running yourself crazy for have some stake in the success of the festivities. And for you control freaks out there, assign some of the smaller tasks to those who are not as dependable- it’s pretty hard to mess up a salad!
Making it through the holidays does not have to be as daunting a task as it seems. Following these tips can help you not only avoid the holiday blues, but you may actually be able to enjoy yourself in the process. Isn’t that what all the fuss is about anyway?