So many of us share a dread of the holidays, while others of us share a child-like excitement for the festivities. This is usually a symptom of the combination of our personality types and our experiences. There are lots of labels but to make it easy, there are some folks just better prepared to deal with all that holidays bring. So for you is it…stressful or exciting, unnerving or relaxing, lonely or loving?
Regardless of where you stand, there are always ways to push through those pieces that are straining. In case you need some tips, here are a few of my favorites:
Set a budget for the month and stick to it. Holidays are times for get-togethers and sometimes travel and gifts, but if you haven’t had the resources to save for it, don’t do it. Your year will not improve by feeling that you need to do something that financially doesn’t fit. Finances are difficult to manage so adding debt or resentment doesn’t help. Instead, be creative, attend free community activities with church groups, social clubs, and your network of friends and family.
If you feel alone, this is a great time to reach out. Join a group, find a place where you can feel comfortable and meet people. This might be in a veterans setting, a volunteer opportunity, a shelter, a church, a park, etc.
Find a time to plan your goals for next year. Let the past go. Easier said than done, right?! Practice some relaxation techniques, add some yoga or meditation to your routine. Fake it ‘til you make it. Having hope and things to look forward to will help to replace bad memories, current difficulties and things that get in the way of your plan. Writing it down will help you to clarify what you want and how you can get there. Get some help if you need it to be objective about what your priorities are and what actions will help you get there.
Find a way to give back. Visit a nursing home, join some carolers, visit in the hospital, cook at the local shelter, sort goods for a nonprofit with a thrift store, join in on a fundraiser to run, walk, sell cookies. You community center can help you find pretty of opportunities where someone needs help. Ruminating on your problems will only magnify your distress and increase your feeling of isolation. Meanwhile, helping others can contribute to your feeling of productiveness, contribution, and wholeness. It’s a neuroscientific truth!
Maintain a wellness routine. The holidays are often full of chances for goodies, over drinking, over eating, and self-indulgence. Why do you think every January is full of diet advertisements and discounts to gyms? Everyone will be ready to change their ways and get back to a healthy routine, but there is really no requirement to give up those habits just because it’s” the season to be jolly”! Everything in moderation. Keep your diet, sleep and exercise routines fully in force. Take your medication, meet with your counselor, attend your appointments, go to work, go to church; do all the things you usually do that is healthy. If your habits are generally unhealthy, it’s as good a time as any to add that to your goals and on your plan!
If you are feeling out of control, feeling like you need help this season, give us a call. We are here and ready to help you build hope this season and every season.