Is it really the most wonderful time of the year? Some people love it and some people dread it.
What about you?
Holidays can be tough and can present a whirlwind of demands. Which party to go to? What to wear? What presents to buy? Baking, entertaining, planning, shopping and wrapping, yikes! Those are just a few things that we are faced with, and they alone can cause us to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. The downhill spiral begins because when we become stressed, that can make us feel depressed. For some, the emotional toll tightens as the holidays draw near.
For those in mourning the first holiday of a lost loved one, can be emotionally trying. Those grieving have a hard time feeling full of holiday spirit, and as hard as they try not to, they can slip slowly back into grief and even depression.
Divorced or single people often feel lonely and more so over the holidays. The holidays can bring up unpleasant old memories and emotions, leaving them feeling empty alone and also depressed.
What about having to deal with a dysfunctional family? People get together in hopes that maybe this year will be different, yet, they get snared right into the crazy family dynamics. They keep telling themselves, Deep breath, this too shall pass. Dealing with difficult relatives can be hard. Uncle Tom just drives you crazy, and his wife ends up drunk, again. No More please!
Mounds of sugary treats and other delicacies that you usually never eat, lore you into a feeding frenzy. Furthermore, there’s always way too much booze sloshing around, and if that’s not tempting enough, plates of nibbles are around every corner and huge meals beckon to be devoured. All the while that inner voice is continually questioning and challenging you. “Did I eat too much”? “Hmmm I shouldn’t really eat that. Why not? It’s Christmas, so then, I’ll eat some more.” The constant inner battle goes on.
How on earth do we make it through the holiday madness?
Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way around the holidays and come out the other side feeling good about yourself.
- Stress and overwhelm are only feelings caused by your thoughts. Try writing out the thoughts that are causing you to feel stressed, have a brain dump. check over your list, and prioritize. By writing everything out and looking over it, you’ll be able to see what’s doable and what’s not and anything that’s a no, let it go. The good news is that you can change your feelings by changing your thoughts, including those that are habitual. Remember, feelings are nothing to be afraid of. We don’t need to resist, react, or avoid them. Just, feel them, acknowledge them, and then change your thought.
- If you have recently experienced a loss of someone special, and you don’t feel ready to go to a party, then, don’t go! Allow yourself to grieve, feel the sadness or anger and honor whatever comes up for you. It’s all part of the healing process. Keep in mind that sometimes the anticipation of it all is far greater than the actual event. However, you might venture out to at least one party, this could turn out to be a good thing for you. Getting out and socializing, will help distract you from your anxieties. Above all, take care of yourself, make sure you get plenty of sleep, that you eat well, and drink alcohol in moderation. Bear in mind that we keep our loved ones alive by the way we live our lives. Although your loved one has gone, remember, the love never
- Surviving the holidays for divorced or separated people can be very painful and sad, as divorce and separation feel very much like a death. So, it’s time to get yourself out of a funk, and firstly, don’t stay home alone. Look for a support group, especially if you don’t want to bother friends. Remember to go easy on yourself, don’t try to numb your pain, it only makes you feel more depressed. Let go of any guilt about feeling less than festive, and give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday season. This time of year, especially the New Year, can be a great time for you to begin building fresh, fun ideas for a future you desire.
- As special as the holidays might be for some families. For others, the family gatherings can be a nightmare. The chances are you’re not the only one irked by certain family members, so brainstorm with others and find ways to steer a certain individual in a different direction. Have the kids write out the seating cards and then have them placed so that people who rub each other wrong are at opposite ends of the table. Don’t forget, how people act and behave has nothing to do with you. Rise above the craziness and visualize sending love to everyone before you walk through the door. Also, be mindful to create moments that are special for you, and have realistic expectations which will make it much easier to deal with whatever goes down.
This too shall pass; the holidays will come and go.
A few closing tips:
It’s ok to say “no,” especially if you’ve over committed yourself and hopefully people will understand. Let go of the stress of shopping. Instead try sharing moments and experiences, like a show or dinner at a fun restaurant. Focus on what’s important to you, even with the Christmas cards, if there’s just too many to write out, ask yourself, which are my 10 most favorite ones? Appreciate the small things in your life that bring you pleasure, your dog, cat, a cup of tea, a warm bed, the good book you’re reading, and anything that feels good to you. Exercise and keep your body moving even when the couch is calling you. Go out for a walk and remember to drink plenty of water. Make time for yourself and nourish yourself in a healthy way. Take the time to do something that makes you happy and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Remember, you don’t have to do it all.
I hope that you will strive for a happy holiday rather than a perfect one. Keep asking yourself “Am I enjoying this?” if you’re not, then find a way to change it. However, if you’re getting through it and having fun along the way, then pat yourself on the back and keep up the good work!
My desire is that you find peace and love through the holidays. May all of your dreams for the coming year be fulfilled.
Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right ~ Oprah Winfrey
Diane Morgan works with women who are overwhelmed and torn by the aging process and have a hard time finding themselves and their place in life during and beyond midlife. She is the creator of a powerful transformational program Awaken Your Beauty Inside Out: Fall In Love With The Skin You’re In. This phenomenal program capitalizes on her 20 plus years of experience in the beauty industry and her expertise as a certified Master Empowerment Coach for women.