As I’m writing this, it is the beginning of December 2022. The world is in full holiday mode, and while this can be a fun, magical, exciting time of year for some, it can be a difficult, anxiety-provoking time for others. The American Psychological Association surveyed a group a people and found that 38% said that their stress level increases during the holiday season. An increase in stress levels can lead to anxiety, depression, illness and substance abuse if left unchecked.
What makes the holidays so hard?
With the holidays comes stress for a lot of people. Why is that? There are many factors that come into play including lack of time, unhealthy family situations, grief and loss, and financial pressures, to name a few.
Sometimes we also struggle with unrealistic and high expectations. We live in a “Pinterest world” where many feel like the holidays need to be “picture perfect” in order to be good or enjoyable (which is not true by the way). We worry more about what others will think rather than focusing on what works for us.
How to Thrive during the Holidays
Here are a few tips on going from Surviving to Thriving during the holidays:
- Focus on the ‘Reason for the Season.’ We celebrate Christmas because God sent his one and only son to earth to live the human experience and then die for our sins. What a gift we have been given!
- Be present. Don’t worry about tomorrow, or next week. Future thinking can increase anxiety. Practice mindfulness and enjoy the moment you have been given.
- Assess your expectations. Are they realistic? Are they too high?
- Set Healthy Boundaries.
- Remember that it’s ok to say No.
- Continue your regular routine.
- Practice Soul-Care. Stay connected to the Lord during this fast-paced time of year. He is constant and never changing.
- Practice Self-Care. Prioritize your wellness by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, taking time to breathe, exercise and do things that make you feel relaxed and calm.
- Stay connected to others. If you’re alone this holiday season, cultivate time with others by volunteering.
- Ask for help–whether that’s with decorating or preparing food or talking with a counselor you don’t have to go through it alone.
Feeling like the holidays are overwhelming? Reach out to a trusted counselor in your area today!