For many, this time of year conjures up painful memories, a feeling of isolation, sadness, and unmet expectations. Perhaps you're one of them.
It is reported that there's a 15% increase in the number of people who request help for emotional disorders in December. You are not alone.
The key to getting through the holidays with less grief begins with having the right perspective and
a willingness to create new memories.
With this is mind, here are a few tips to help you experience "holiday cheer," (no alcoholic beverage needed). :-)
- Recognize that fewer expectations lead to greater peace. Hello? Many of us get caught up in the holiday movies and commercials depicting perfect families and the exchange of great gifts. But, this is not necessarily a "reality" for all Americans. Accept this. Don't put undue pressure on yourself to do everything and be everything. Don't get disappointed if family members don't pitch in like they should. It is what it is. Holiday "peace" begins with you and your thoughts.
- Don't compare or compete. It's not unusual, at this time of the year, to compare our progress or possessions with others. And sometimes when we do, we feel "short changed." True? Recognize that we are each blessed "differently." Chill. And give thanks.
- Pace Yourself. Part of the reason that so many of us feel stressed over the holidays, is that we try to cram too many things into too little time. Cooking. Cleaning. Shopping. Relatives. Decorating. Don't forget that proper planning and preparation can make for a more relaxing and joyful holiday experience. And when possible, delegate.
- Consider volunteering. One thing that helps us to realize just how fortunate we really are is to donate our time, resources, and talent to those in need. Why not volunteer at a Soup Kitchen? Or visit the elderly? Or bring a plate to a "shut-in" in your neighborhood? It will make you feel better, and help to add joy to someone else in the process.
- Attend a Worship Service. Several churches in your local area will have special activities devoted to the holiday season, with friendly people and warm spirits. Reach out. And remember the "divine" reason for the season.
- Treat yourself. In the words of Dr. Phil, "Sometimes we have to give ourselves what we deserve from other people." In other words, don't wait for folks to celebrate you through gift giving. Treat yourself to a new "do". Or buy that new pair of pumps you've been "eyeing" at the mall. Just be careful not to overspend, (which also contributes to holiday stress).
Follow these timely tips for greater joy and less stress during this holiday season!
Have a safe, soulful celebration.
We look forward to connecting with you in 2014!
Image courtesy: J. Banks