Holidays - we see the commercials - they start way too early these days. Happy Families, tree trimming, candles lighting, gift buying/giving or receiving, cookie baking, the food - happy times - right?
It isn't always fun, especially for those suffering from mental health conditions or who have strained family dynamics. This time of year can be down right painful. If you want to hide under your warm blanket and avoid life - you aren't alone.
According to studies, 8 out of 10 Americans expect stress during the holidays (APA, 2008). So fret not, 80% of your fellow Americans are also walking around stressed - but the real question is what can you do about it?
Can you skip out on that holiday meal? Can you choose not to buy more things? Can you tell Mom or Dad you won't be home for the holidays? These traditions create expectations and various emotions that follow.
Self care and developing boundaries are essential this time of year, so take a moment to take an inventory of your needs: emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Take 5 minutes and think about what/who you are grateful for this past year.
- Do something, during your holidays, just for you, even if it's just one day, or hour, or even 10 minutes.
- Take some deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Our breathing is the remote control for our body, so change your channel.
- Give someone the gift of an experience and make a memory together.
- Bundle up and get outside, smell the cool (or freezing) air, feel the sun (and get some Vitamin D) on your face.
Need more ideas or support - check out our Holiday Stress Prevention Checklist, brought to you by Between Sessions, or contact our therapists today - we are here to help!