Surviving the Holidays

The holiday season can be so difficult for a variety of reasons. Existing issues can intensify when coupled with the stress of the holidays.

The holidays are also a time for reflection, and people become sad or even depressed when looking back on significant losses, such as deaths, job loss, or divorces. It can be overwhelming to face this time alone. Even more overwhelming is the fact that many of us feel pulled in a million directions by all of the holiday dinners and gatherings we are asked to attend.

Financial pressure alone is enough to make many people want to avoid the holidays altogether. It is difficult to admit that you cannot afford to buy lavish gifts, or any gifts at all.

There are ways to get through the holidays. Yes, chances are that you will feel stressed, but there are ways to curb your stress during this difficult time.

• Rather than buying gifts, create homemade gifts, such as jam or baked goods. If you are not crafty, giving a small, inexpensive, but thoughtful gift is fine too. The gift of quality time together is always thoughtful, such as tickets to a sporting event or a show.

• If the holidays are difficult for you due to the loss of a spouse or loved one, surround yourself with people. If you don’t have any close family or friends to spend the holidays with, try to arrange a special day for yourself, doing something that makes you happy.

• Manage expectations. If your children are expecting a large gift that you can’t afford, tell them what to expect before the holidays so that Christmas day is not full of disappointment. If you are attending a family dinner and can only stay for a few hours, let people xanax price know ahead of time so that they are not upset when you have to leave early.

• Try not to drink a lot of alcohol or fill up on sugary foods, as hard as it may be to resist them. Alcohol and sugar may temporarily boost your mood, but cause you to crash and feel sick later on. Alcohol can also fuel tension or cause you to act on any underlying aggression.

• Don’t set unrealistic goals. If you have a large family, and your spouse does as well, you might not be able to see them all. Set boundaries, and don’t let guilt get the best of you. You might visit one half of your family this year, and see the other side at next year’s gatherings. Perhaps you can arrange a late holiday celebration in January. In a time where families are spread across continents, and consist of separations, remarriages, step and half siblings, etc, you have to be realistic about who you can see in the short holiday season.

• Check in with your own behaviour. Going home can trigger past behaviours, and you may find old sibling rivalries resurfacing. You may find yourself reverting back to your teenage self, simply because of the environment you are in. Remember who you are now, and how far you have come.

Most of all, make time for yourself. If you are in a particularly stressful situation, take a time out. Breathe deeply, and try to focus on the positive aspects of the holidays. Taking just a few minutes out for yourself is often enough to return to the party or dinner feeling refreshed. Try to enjoy yourself and connect with the ones you love.

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