The countdown is on and the holidays are almost here. And, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or don’t celebrate at all, it can sometimes be difficult to escape the stress that this time of the year seems to cause.
It seems such a paradox that a time of the year that is supposed to be so joyful and wonderful can be so stressful for so many. Yet, understandable when we look at the expectations placed on us during this time. For some there is a financial stress. For others, it is the emotional stress of being in a family dynamic that is less than optimal or perhaps non-existent. And for others there may be losses that are magnified during this time of the year that leaves one sad and lonely.
No matter what your situation, if you find yourself lacking the expected joy that the holidays are supposed to bring, here are a few suggestions to help you along.
Watch Your Spending
It can be easy to lose track of your finances when this season approaches. We get caught up in the buying frenzy knowing that paying the piper is just on the other side of the month. Make a budget and stick to it. If you find you have less than optimal self discipline when out shopping then leave your credit cards at home. It is always more joyful watching your loved ones opening their gifts knowing that you will not have huge debt in January.
Keep Your Drinking in Check
Parties and holidays go hand in hand. If you find yourself feeling a little blue, you may tend to want to drink a little more than usual. This might get you through the evening with a bit more joy than you otherwise would have mustered, but, keep in mind that alcohol can work as a depressant. You may find yourself feeling worse than before you imbibed. It is important to get out there and enjoy others. Just keep it in check. Here are 5 Wrong Ways to Celebrate the Holidays.
Holiday shopping is stressful for most of us. The crowds are crazy and everyone seems to be in a rush. For those working in retail and service, it can be a very tiring and difficult time as they often bear the brunt of other’s stress. Take the time to acknowledge that person on the other side of the cash register. A warm hello and genuine appreciative thank you can go a long way to boost their spirits and yours too.
Spending some time with others in a volunteer role can be so wonderful for your well being. Many of us want to volunteer but have no idea where to start. Look online for local community groups and reach out. You don’t have to make it a permanent thing. Even a few hours over the holidays are really appreciated by many groups. If that isn’t really your thing, consider offering to babysit someone’s pet while they are away. It can be nice company to “borrow” a dog/kitty/rabbit/hamster for a few days and may help out a family who must visit Auntie Glo with the bad allergies.
If you find yourself really struggling over the holidays, don’t hesitate to reach out and get help. The Canadian Mental Health Association has lists of services in your area that may be able to help you during this time.