You’ve made your list, and checked it twice! But, it still seems no matter how organized you thought you were this holiday season, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything crossed off that “to do” list. So, like thousands of other people you start to shut down, get cranky and feel more like Ebenezer Scrooge than good Ole St. Nick!
Maybe you’ve wished you could hibernate until the season ends? Lock yourself inside your house, turn off all those blinking lights and watch reruns of “It’s a Wonderful Life?”
Well, sadly, you aren’t alone. Even though the holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness, hopefulness, friendliness and harmony, they can easily become so overwhelming that you start experiencing the “holiday blues”.
Psychotherapist Mark Sichel says holiday anticipation and excitement can often turn into feelings of depression especially if you are celebrating alone. “Many times people can experience headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness and unnecessary conflict with friends and family,” Sichel says. “The demands of the season, including: shopping, cooking, travel and parties can exert the happiest of people.”
So, instead of boycotting the holidays, take a deep breath and embrace your situation.
Relationship coach Larry James believes the best way to ditch the holiday blues is to temper your expectations and forget about what is “supposed” to happen. No matter how many Christmas cards you’ve signed, presents you’ve picked out or turkeys you’ve basted, the holidays will happen whether you’re ready or not. “You can always do something to focus on making yourself ‘merry’ during the holidays,” James says.
Tools from both the psychotherapist and the relationship coach to get through the holiday season happily:
- If you drink, don’t let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging and hangovers. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is a depressant and could increase your anxiety.
- Be reasonable with your schedule. Try not to overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion, which will make you crankier. Lots of people try and do what’s “expected” of them during the holidays and will end up running themselves ragged or into the ground.
- Don’t expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a kid. They never are. You are not the same as when you were a child, and no one else in the family is either. Start new traditions.
- Focus on “doing” instead of “giving.” Volunteer at a homeless shelter, visit a nursing home or gather up old clothes and donate them to a church, school or organization. This way you won’t go over your budget and ring in the New Year with wilted poinsettias and bills that can’t be met.
- Remember, no matter what your plans are, the holidays will not take away feelings of aloneness, sadness, frustration, anger or fear. So, count your blessings. Practice gratitude, be thankful for all the things you do have and avoid focusing on what you lack.
“When you take a close look and really remember what the holidays are all about, you can find many positive things to focus on. Pity Parties are out!” James adds.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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