The holidays are quickly approaching and you may already be experiencing some angst. While the holidays are a great way to spend quality time with family and friends, stress and depression aren’t uncommon during this time. Here are 7 tips to help you avoid holiday stress and depression.
1. Be Realistic
We often have an idea of how the holidays will be in our mind but is that idea realistic? Families aren’t perfect and, sometimes, things go awry. Each holiday is going to be different than the last. It’s important to find ways to work around any issues that may arise. For instance, if someone can’t make it, find an alternative way to share the holiday with him or her. You can video chat or send photos to one another.
2. Own Your Feelings
Owning your feelings is a great way to help avoid stress and depression during the holidays. If you can’t attend a family function or if someone can’t attend your function, it’s okay to feel sad or disappointed. If the holidays bring up memories of a deceased loved one, it’s okay to feel grief. Try to set aside some private time to let your feelings out so that you can enjoy the remainder of the holiday.
3. Set Aside Differences
Accepting your family and friends for who they are will help you avoid a great deal of stress during the holidays. You don’t have to agree with anyone’s opinion or life choices; accept them for who they are and agree to disagree.
With so much going on and people coming into town, it’s important to have a plan for the holidays. Set aside specific days for shopping, cooking, and visiting others so that you’re not so overwhelmed. If you have family coming into town for an extended period of time, it may also be helpful for you to plan your menu for their visit to keep last minute meal issues from arising.
5. Say No
Learning to say no will help you avoid a great deal of stress and depression during the holidays. If you say yes when you really wanted to say no, you may develop resentment, which isn’t going to serve you well during this time. If you can’t participate in an activity, say no. If you can’t attend an event, say no. You can’t be everything to everyone and that’s okay.
The bulk of stress surrounding the holidays is often related to money. Many people spend more than they planned and then become worried about making ends meet or paying off debt. This is especially true when buying gifts. To minimize the stress associated with this, it’s important to create and stick to a budget. Keep in mind that you don’t have to purchase a gift for everyone you know.
7. Keep Healthy Habits
The holidays are often a time of rich foods, which can derail your healthy eating habits. Be sure to keep up with your diet and exercise routine during this time. Not only will your waistline thank you, but your mental health will thank you, too. It’s okay to indulge occasionally, but overindulgence only adds to your holiday stress.
The holidays should be a time of peace and joy. Following these tips will help you achieve just that. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at 860.648.9755.
To getting you back to your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD