“It’s the Most Wonderful Time” …. So say the lyrics of this venerable holiday song.
The season is a wonderful time to enjoy special moments, food, laughter and joy with loved ones and friends. However, it is also a time that can bring on major stress as we attempt to create a “perfect Christmas” in an imperfect world.
Spending too much money on gifts, battling crowds in the shopping malls, reactivating bad or sad memories of past holidays and overloading on parties and food are just some of reasons why many of us suffer from anxiety and depression. We wind up dreading the season rather than enjoying it.
Here are a few helpful tips from Dr. Martin Rossman, author of the “The Worry Solution” to manage stress at this time of the year.
Be good to yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well and keep your sense of humor. Remember: this season is a time to celebrate.
The key word here is “no,” in any of its more gracious forms, as in, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I have another [fill in the blank] at that time, but thank you so much for asking.” Choose the events that you must attend and that you want to attend. Skip the rest. Your body will thank you.
Make a realistic budget, determining how much you can spend without jeopardizing your financial state. Stick to that figure! Also, if you hate shopping or the commercialization of holidays, donate to a meaningful cause instead of buying gifts. Send your loved ones cards, letting them know that you’ve made a donation in their name, and ask them to do the same instead of giving you a gift. Act early so that everyone can manage their expectations accordingly.
Carbohydrates and alcohol lower anxiety and lift mild depressions, but there is always a crash afterwards. Explore new ways to cope and enjoy yourself — through music, art, writing or other forms of creative expression. Pick your party spots judiciously.
Eliminate Useless Worry
Use your imagination to effectively plan ahead of time — from organizing a gathering, to buying gifts, to taking good care of yourself. Count your blessings, be grateful for what you have, and enjoy yourself.
Tips For Managing The Holiday Blues: www.nami.org
Ho HO NO!!!: Tips for an Organized and Stress-Free Holiday Season, by Lisa Crilly Mallis
Holiday Stress Management (Self-Help Stress Solutions), by Darlene Josaphe