Are you one of the many people who gets overwhelmed and stressed out about Holiday Season? You’re not alone. Millions of people experience negative emotions that range from depression and sadness to anxiety and loneliness. It’s a particularly difficult time of year if your goal is to “just survive” the Holidays.
I noticed Christmas displays and Holiday lights up before Halloween this year. Even that by itself can start the emotional roller coaster in early motion. So what can you do about it?
Here are some things to do if you find yourself in emotional distress.
1. Have a plan- If you have emotionally struggled through the holidays in the past, it’s time to plan ahead. Find people who can support you, and offer your support to others. Know who you are going to call and reach out in advance to let them know. There are many local; social, religious and community support groups if you don’t feel you can rely on family and friends. There are also plenty of opportunities to volunteer that can lift your spirits. Make a decision now to reach out for any professional help that you need.
2. Recognize your feelings– It’s perfectly normal for people to experience sadness over the holidays for a variety of reasons like a recent divorce or the death of a loved one. It can be helpful to acknowledge your feelings and express them. The expectations of family and financial pressure can be enough to push stress levels over the limit. Who are you going to allow to trigger you emotionally this year? Think about that for a moment…who is going to push your buttons? Will you let them?
3. Get Creative– We are only limited by our willingness to be creative in order to shift our lives and emotions. We think that we’ve tried everything, when in reality; most people have tried the same 3 or 4 things over and over. If something isn’t working, do something else. If you feel stuck, that means it’s time to think outside the box. You have magic inside of you, so let some out.
4. Move your body– Working out is great to release the “feel good” endorphins. You can also walk, sing, play your favorite music, wash all your windows, march around playing a harmonica, do some yoga, take some deep breaths, do the world’s sexiest dance when no one is watching, or even better, do it while someone ‘s watching… stand in the snow or cold grass for 2 minutes, prepare gourmet food for the homeless, visit the elderly, the ideas are endless. Have some fun with it.
5. Get Real – Tell yourself the truth. Do you really need to everything to be perfect? Do you really need to please everyone? Do you really need to max out your credit cards and continue the debt death spiral? Do you really need to worry about what some family member might be thinking about you? What people think about you is far less important than what YOU think about yourself. Your SELF worth is what really matters most, and as a reminder, you are totally in charge of that.
We are constantly creating meanings about things. Something happens and we attach a meaning to it. Is it the end, or is it a new begging? When you change what something means, then a brand new world opens up with new possibilities. What else could this _____ (insert challenge here) mean?
Time is fleeting, and we often forget what’s truly most important to us. It’s easy to get caught up in holiday rituals and duties with no time for ourselves. Take a few minutes and just sit and breathe into whatever emotion you are experiencing. Next, notice what you notice about the feeling. Where is it located? What color is it? Get curious about it and say to it “thanks for stopping by” and now notice what happens. You might experience a pleasant Holiday surprise. Happy Holidays!