As children we anticipated the arrival of the holiday season. We looked forward to school festivities, the church play and all the fun activities surrounding the holidays.
As adults we may be feeling totally different about the holiday season. Often the pressure to complete so many tasks in such a short time can be stressful. Adding to demands of our alread busy schedule can sometimes cause anxiety and stressed.
Depression may also occur with the recent loss of a love one, if a person is isolated, or if relationships have been strained in the extended family. For many individuals finances are a problem and trying to buy gifts when money is tight can be very difficult.
There are some ways to help lessen or relieve holiday stressors and enjoy the season according to the Mayo Clinic, 2012.
If you have recently lost a loved one and feel sad, realize this is normal and it is okay to have these feelings. If possible share how you are feeling with someone you have a close relationship with. It can be a family member, a pastor, or a close friend.
If you are feeling isolated look for community events you can be part of. You can attend church functions where you can find support and companionship.
Another way to feel less isolated is to look for ways to help others in your community. Perhaps work at a soup kitchen, volunteer at the Good Will store, or be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. There are many ways to help at the holidays and all year long. If you know of someone who is isolated and cannot get out, take time and visit them. You will both feel better.
Be realistic about the holidays, they do not have to be perfect. If a tradition is causing you a lot of stress, change it. For example, change a meal time from earlier in the day to the evening to accommodate grown children. Plan ahead, for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Learn to say no to taking on something new, or attending a specific function that you do not have time for. Do the things that mean the most to you and your family.
Sticking to a budget can help you feel less stressed. Decide how much money you can afford to spend, and then stick to it.
What is the real meaning of Christmas to you? Just remember things and gifts don’t necessarily buy happiness.
Give something that is meaningful, even to children.
In my family this year we are exchanging talents. My daughter is a good at organizer; she is going to help me get my pictures in order. In turn I am going to babysit my grandchildren so she and her husband can go out to dinner. This can work with a friend as well.
Don’t over indulge and sabotage the good habits you have had all year, eat sensibly! Eat a healthy snack before going somewhere that might have tempting foods. Continue your exercise program and get lots of rest. Lastly, accept your family and friends for who they are. This isn’t the time of year to bring up old grievances. If you need help eating healthy through the holidays call the Health Department at 859-744-4482 and one of the dietitians will be happy to meet with you. Enjoy the holidays and stay stress free! Visit our website at www.clarkhealthdept.org and like us on facebook.