A lot of people really enjoy the holiday season. But for some, it can be a source of sadness and stress. I have had several clients tell me they dread this time of year. Are you one of those people? Let’s take a look at why you may feel this way.
Perhaps your family is coming over and they are slightly dysfunctional. There may be someone in the family tree who drinks too much. Inappropriate things may be said by the aunt who lacks boundaries. Someone else has an untreated mental illness such as depression and alcohol causes her to cry and sob at dinner. Another family member creates drama when he is around because he’s always angry and opinionated. You may even find yourself in a fight with your own partner because your stress is high. This can all be too much and overwhelming. If it’s possible, try and find the humor in these situations; And find comfort in knowing almost EVERYONE has unique family dynamics. You’re not the only one.
Meals, alone can cause anxiety. Cooking for the family takes work. Or you eat too much and don’t have time to go to the gym. After over-eating, you don’t feel good about yourself. You gain weight. You take more anxiety medication than usual. You drink to excess. And then maybe, you find yourself in a downward spiral. The key is to eat and drink in moderation. Try and manage your stress by making lists and having realistic expectations of yourself and the “event” itself.
Shopping is another part of the holidays. For some it’s like a sport, for others it’s just another source of pressure. The stores are packed with stressed, hurried people and you can’t find a parking space that’s within a walkable distance. Black Friday is not for everyone. You may still find that “great deal” another time. If you’re not someone that enjoys the “race” and the mayhem of Black Friday sales, why put yourself through it. Retailers offer sales and promotions up to the very end of the year. Try to make a list for gifts and plan ahead. Take the time to research online. In the end you may save yourself money, not over-spend unnecessarily and ultimately save yourself additional stress.
It’s ok to feel like the “Grinch” sometimes. But if you can, try and find joy in the little things. Paying it forward is a nice distraction. Rather than focusing on the things that stress you out, focus on doing something for someone else. Believe it or not, this works. This time of year is a great time to donate or volunteer at Senior Centers, Animal Shelters, Women’s Shelters, Orphanages, Hospitals and Veteran Homes. Sometimes helping others puts your own worries and stresses in perspective.
So, it’s not “the most wonderful time of the year” for some of us. It may remind of us of loved ones who are no longer here. The overplayed holiday music and store decorations are everywhere we look. And maybe we feel guilty about not being “in the Spirit”. What can you do? Try not to drink or eat too much. Take your prescriptions, as prescribed. And most importantly TAKE A DEEP BREATHE. EXHALE. And maybe start a countdown to SUMMER😀
In all seriousness folks, if you find yourself needing to talk and sort things out during this stressful time, we are here for you! Give us a call at Becker Counseling and let’s figure out a plan to manage your stress. Call 732.406.4422.