Rediscover The Holiday Spirit

Children love the holidays and most count down the days until Christmas or other fun holidays. However, I know several adults who dread the holidays. What changes? At what point does fun turn into stress? Several factors are at fault including increased demands for time and finances. Traveling, grief, poor self-care, and working too much can cause holiday stress. Fortunately, there are 5 strategies you can use to reduce holiday stress and ENJOY the season!

1. Be realistic with finances. You are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors if you rack up a lot of debt on Christmas presents. Prioritize who you want to buy gifts for and stick with that list. Set a budget and only take that much money with you shopping. It helps to leave the credit card at home so you will not be tempted to overspend. Consider alternatives to expensive gifts. Crafts can be a great form of self-care and can be used as presents made with love. Most children and some teens love to do crafts so you can even recruit some help. Check online for cheap and easy craft suggestions.

2. Maintain healthy boundaries. Deny requests that will overwhelm you or spread your time too thin. Just because it is possible for you to get the task done does not mean you are obligated to do so.

3. Practice self-care. It sounds cliché, but self-care is always important. It is even more crucial when stress is high. Self-care includes sleeping about 7 hours per night, exercising (even short walks count), getting some alone time, limiting junk food consumption, and reaching out for emotional support. Support may come from friends, church, or mental health professionals. If you would like to obtain professional support, please do not hesitate to contact Lasting Serenity Counseling Services and schedule an appointment with me.

4. Address grief over lost loved ones. The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for those who have lost people they cared about. You can cope with grief by honoring your loved one through the holidays. For example, you may cook their favorite recipe, play their favorite holiday song, or watch their favorite movie. Sharing your favorite memories either in a journal or with others is another healthy way to cope with grief. If grief continues to consume you, seek counseling to process your loss.

5. Have fun with people who love the holidays! Spend time with kids, friends, or family making new memories and/or traditions. Being around people who enjoy the holidays can spread the holiday spirit. There really is something to the concept of “fake it until you make it.”

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