Surviving the Holiday Stress

Surviving the Holiday Stress

That time of the year is fast approaching again – Christmas. You might be one of those people who feel drained by the year-end celebration, the countless dollars spent and the many people whose drama you have to face. With Christmas comes the potential stress of family, year-end bills, and the feeding frenzy at your local mall. Christmas too often turns into a sea of obligations and stress. Well, perhaps “Santa” will bring you some skills this year to help you get through this time better.

Around this time of year, people who feel alone have it “rubbed” in by society. All commercials show people together laughing and celebrating. That may not be your reality. Many people get depressed and sometimes even contemplate “ending it all”. It is a tough time to navigate through. For couples, the stress can be exponential. Domestic abuse peaks around Christmas, and many arguments flare up. The battle field may be extended family, finances, children, friends, or anything else. Either topic creates strain that adds to all the other things going on in your life. For people who visit family or have family coming over, it can be an eternity of holding your breath and biting your tongue! It is easy to revert back to feeling like a child despite your actual age when your family seems to try everything to make you feel small and incompetent. Okay, none of these scenarios are insurmountable.

If you are alone and get depressed around this time of year, try the following: a) volunteer at a local center and do something good for others. It is a great way to feel good about yourself without having to stew on your own. b) If you are contemplating suicide, please reach out for help. There are many great people answering help lines. They are available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. There are counsellors, friends, spiritual leaders, family members, physicians, the hospital and much more. The point is: please reach out as your life has value, even if you do not feel that it does. c) Avoid eating a lot of junk food. The effect is that it increases your depressed mood, although you may feel better in the moment.

If you are a couple experiencing stress now, prepare for the holidays. a) Come up with a financial plan, for example, if you know that money is going to be tight. b) Make sure to schedule “special time” together, because it will strengthen your bond and give you a chance to get a break amidst all the hustle. c) Should there be more serious challenges, seek help. Going to couples counselling will cost you less than a separation or a divorce. If you don’t do it for yourself, then protect your children from yourselves!!! Buy one less gift or two and spend the money on your happiness. Think “long-term value”…

If you are facing “The Family”, know that I feel for you. It can be rough, and there are ways to get through this. a) It is always a good idea to inform the people you trust and love that you will be needing their support during this time. That’s what friends are for. b) Create scenarios in which you may feel less uncomfortable. You may decide to invite friends to the family gathering to ease the tension. c) You can also choose to schedule pampering time for yourself before and after the get-together. Seeking a counsellor to support you is also a good option. Prevention is better than reaction.

I have more information for you, so feel free to send an email.

Happy Holidays, and as always, be good to yourself.