For a lot of folks, the holiday season truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, this statement isn’t true for everyone. Sometimes the anticipation and expectations are unrealistic. For others, the happiness of the season stands in strong contrast to the daily challenges or overall life experiences they are trying to deal with or overcome.
If you, or a loved one, is finding it difficult to find joy in the world this holiday season, the Mayo Clinic offers these recommendations.
Be honest with yourself and others. It’s okay to acknowledge that you aren’t in the holiday spirit. Financial challenges, employment pressures, the loss of loved ones, the end of long-standing family traditions, physical separation from loved ones . . . they can individually or collectively make the holidays seem positively miserable or unbearable. It’s understandable, and nothing to be ashamed of.
Be flexible. Sometimes we try too hard and wind up disappointing ourselves. Try to focus on the big picture and enjoy the overarching spirit of the season. Adult children will celebrate with their in-laws, guests will arrive late, Christmas punch will get spilled on the carpet. Choose to be as positive as possible, and remember that if other family members or friends are being difficult, it’s possibly a difficult time for them too.
Keep your healthy habits. Don’t neglect physical activity or a good night’s sleep in the midst of the busy holiday season. Try to have a healthy snack before your parties and big meals, as an effective way to prevent over consumption. Healthy habits can extend to your checkbook as well. To the best of your ability, try to establish your Christmas budget and stick to it. This can help relieve financial pressure now and into the new year.
Take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to take a break, skip a party, come late or leave early. Sometimes some “alone time” is just what you need to recharge your batteries, and get ready to meet the next set of activities.
And of course, if the holidays are just too overwhelming, seek professional help. Despite doing the best you can, you may still find yourself feeling sad, lethargic, angry or irritable. If this is the case, reach out to your health care provider or a mental health professional to get the help you need and deserve.
For more tips about managing the holiday blues, please read this article from the Mayo Clinic.