By Kelli McIntyre, Employee Health & Wellness Coach, Liberty Lutheran
The holiday season doesn’t always bring good tidings of comfort and joy. For many, the decking of the halls, shopping for the perfect gift, and seemingly endless celebrations that accompany the holidays have the potential to knock us off balance. Stir in some unpredictable weather, messy crowded travel conditions, and the demands of entertaining – all of a sudden -we are wishing our way past the holidays, instead of enjoying the season.
If you have experienced loss around the holidays, being surrounded with jolly folks, the sweet smell of pine, and a bunch of twinkling lights might make you feel alone. Even if the loss you experienced wasn’t during holiday season, the feelings of loss may be amplified and intensified.
If you fear the stress of the holiday season is getting the best of you, please consider the following tips to help you cope this holiday season!
- Be honest about your feelings and their origin. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, if financial pressures of buying gifts is more than you wish to bear, or nine holiday parties in six weeks is just a bit much for you – be honest about it! There is no need to apologize for your feelings.
Remember the reason for the season. I hope that everyone took some time on Thanksgiving to consider what you are most grateful, and actually give thanks. Now with Christmas right around the corner, it is important to remember what the Christmas holiday is all about. Christmas is about LOVE and GIVING. So love one another! Give of your unique gifts. Be patient. Be kind. Forgive. Don’t be misled to believe that Christmas is about buying stuff. It’s about love.
- Pencil in time to take care of yourself. Too often, when new demands for our time are introduced, we abandon the very habits that help us to stay balanced. Life is not a “To Do” list! You have to spend some time taking care of yourself. Schedule your shopping etc., around your spin class, make time to meet your best friend for lunch, and spend some time in your craft room or man cave. The more time you spend doing healthy things for yourself, the less time you have available to sabotage your efforts from the other 44 weeks of the year.
- Have a financial plan for the holidays. Hopefully, you haven’t already overspent! Click on this link for a valuable article on Forbes.com that shows you how to make a holiday budget and stick with it, including acknowledging how emotions influence spending, focusing on the value of gifts and not the cost, and either budgeting for “add-ons” or having a plan to avoid them.
Ask for help if you need it. In its most simple form, you may need help washing dishes, decorating, preparing meals, or with other relatively minor tasks around the holidays. It’s perfectly okay, and actually recommended, to ask for support if you feel overwhelmed.
On the other hand, you may find that even with trying to manage the stress of the holidays, you feel excessively downhearted or sad. If you are experiencing this and/or other signs of depression, such as difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively, difficulty doing daily activities, loss of motivation, or hopelessness, call your healthcare provider for help.
The holidays were not intended to be hectic and burdensome. With a little self-reflection, honesty, planning, and support, you can manage the stress of the holiday season.
About Liberty Lutheran
Incorporated in 2001 and headquartered in Ambler, Pa., Liberty Lutheran, with locations across Pennsylvania and combined service history of 300 years, faithfully provides vital resources to more than 61,000 individuals and families facing life-changing situations. These individualized services include independent and personal care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, hospice care, in-home supports, wellness services, children and family services, integration services for immigrants and political refugees and disaster response. Liberty Lutheran’s team of dedicated employees serves individuals and families through their family of services in Pennsylvania, including Artman, Paul’s Run Retirement Community, Liberty at Home, Lutheran Children and Family Services, Lutheran Congregational Services, The Hearth at Drexel (formerly Mary J. Drexel,) and The Village at Penn State. www.libertylutheran.org