(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – While a joyous time of year full of celebration and spending time with family and friends, the holiday season can also present a dizzying array of demands, parties, shopping, baking and more.
But, with some practical, tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. “When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup,” explained Brandi Ankrom, Community Treatment Coordinator from Personal & Family Counseling Services in New Philadelphia. “It’s important to do your best to try and prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.”
- Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently passed away or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering is also a great way to find extra support.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
- Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. You may also consider homemade gifts or a family gift exchange.
- Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.
If despite your best efforts, you still find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, irritable, hopeless or having other negative feelings you should talk to your doctor or mental health professional.
“Overall, do your best not to let the holidays turn into something you dread,” added Jodi Salvo Tuscarawas County ADC Coordinator. “Santa isn’t the only one always watching. Our children are watching our every move and it’s important we lead by example and handle holiday stress in a healthy way.”