Happy Holidays? (are they for you?)

I am one who can’t wait for the yearly family get together for Thanksgiving–even though I have to travel 1270 miles to get back to Chicago to enjoy it!. Although like I suppose most everybody else I tend to over indulge a bit at the feasts for Thanksgiving and later Christmas, I really love the holidays.

When I got back from Chicago this year, I put up my cute decorations for Christmas, including a cut out of a too heavy Santa who needs two elves to help him up to the roof, which adorns my front picture window.  Although my tree is only about three feet high–including the base, when I put on it’s red bows, sparkly golden pear and red apple ornaments and finish it off with gold “wrapping” while the tiny multi-colored LED lights dance under  it all, I am ready to welcome in this holiday I have loved since childhood.  However, I know for many people it can be a time of loneliness, feeling depressed or anxious.  Some people did not have fond memories of the holidays from childhood, and some may have lost a loved one recently which can make this holiday much less than merry.

How to deal with stress or loss on the holidays:

1.  Make sure to get enough rest.  If you usually sleep about eight hours, give yourself a treat of an extra half or even full hour when you can.

2.  Ask yourself what is really important for you?  For some I know who have some conflicts, even estrangement from family members turning to the religious meaning of the season may be helpful.  One person I know is planning to attend a Christmas service for example at her new church.

3.  Try not to “should on yourself.” If this is usually a happy time, but you have experienced a loss recently, it may be hard to put on a happy face.  I remember after my fiancé died on Christmas Eve many years ago, I had at least mixed feelings about Christmas and it was a bitter-sweet time for me actually for several years afterward.

4.  Turn to supportive friends if family is far away.   I can’t afford to go to Chicago twice in a year and besides my joke is I don’t want to spend an extra day or two at “beautiful” O’Hare Airport waiting for the weather to clear up so I can get home.  Instead when we have our December church dinner, I bring small gifts to give to my church family.  It really helps uplift my holiday spirits.

5.  Try not to overdo it.  Sometimes people over buy to make up for not feeling as connected as they wish to family/friends.  Some others feel they have to attend every holiday party/dinner, etc. they are invited to then feel exhausted not happy.

Holidays like Christmas (or do you celebrate another winter holiday?) can be “jolly” or just an added stressor. You can make it more enjoyable with  just small adjustments!

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