Reducing Stress During the Holidays

After writing that last post, I remembered I had volunteered to write an article for my job about holiday stress.  I thought I would share  with you!

Tis the season to be jolly and STRESSED!  Managing our finances, health, schedule, and family creates an overwhelming schedule.  We have a tendency to not eat as healthy, sleep less, and the season may bring up memories or unwanted sadness and anxiety.  What can we do?

1.  Take Care of YOU

Remember that we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves.  Self-care is important.  Take time to rest.  Also, lower your expectations.  Having a perfect holiday and meeting everyone’s needs are unrealistic expectations.  Enjoy each moment and don’t judge an imperfect moment as a bad holiday or failure.  Slow down and ask for help.

2.  Consider Giving Back

Volunteering and giving back to those in need during the holidays can empower and bring joy.  Ask your local place of worship if they have any immediate needs.  An ongoing community resource is Gathering Grounds in Chester, VA.  They take food and clothing donations.  Friday nights they can use help serving those in need.  You can contact them:

12211 Iron Bridge Road

Chester, Virginia 23831

(804) 530-0204

http://hstrial-gatheringgrou.intuitwebsites.com/

3.  Consider Simplicity

The media will cause you to feel it’s never enough and you are missing out.  Consider simplicity across all aspects of the holiday.  Simplify meals, gift giving, and cleaning.  How?  Can you ask your family to bring a covered dish?  How about drawing names within your extended family, and consider only one gift per individual.   You may decide to only have children draw names, and ask the adults to enjoy each other’s company, and no gifts necessary.  Take the time to write out all the chores and delegate.  Have a cleaning day as a family and let each person know their responsibilities.  As you slow down and take care of yourself, you will discover that it’s the simple things in life that bring joy—reading a book together, watching a holiday show with a warm cup of hot chocolate, laughing, talking, listening…..  There is no such thing as a perfect holiday, perfect family, perfect anything.  Slow down. Simplify.

4.  Seek Support

Sadness during the holidays can sneak up on us.  We feel guilty for being sad while everyone else seems so happy.  The holidays cause us to think of our loved ones, and we see family that we usually don’t see during the year.  Talk about it with a trusted friend or family member and seek counseling support if needed.    Remember you are not alone.  Many families are dealing with losses during the holidays and it’s hard.  Remember the first point to take care of yourself.  When emotions are high take a break and do something you enjoy. Take a walk and notice nature around you and its beauty.  While walking, breathe out your blessings.  As you exhale, say aloud or within your mind all the good things in your life.  Research reveals that a grateful attitude helps with sadness.  Exercise also produces a bio-chemical reaction in our brains for the better.  It can help to clear the mind and put things in perspective.

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