Between the lack of sunlight, family stress, or finances, expectations, obligations…the holiday season can be a stressful time for most, even with the best of intentions. In fact, stress and depression can be at their peak for many parents and caregivers at this time of year.
How do we keep positive when tensions are high?
Witness and Accept Your Feelings are Normal. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. If you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief rather than try to ignore or push those feelings aside.
Reach out. Creating Together is hosting a holiday party on December 18th – come out and enjoy a meal with us while the kids play! And beyond us here at Creating Together, if you feel lonely or isolated, seek out other community, religious or other social events that are meaningful for you. They can offer support and companionship.
Be realistic. Managing our expectations of the holidays is important, so we can be realistic and find ways to celebrate which feel authentic and true. The holidays don’t have to be perfect, or the same as they were in the past. Families, traditions, and rituals change and grow over time. Consider which traditions you’d like to keep and which ones you’d like to create. Find new ways to celebrate together, with the people who matter the most.
Set aside differences. Remember you aren’t the only one who is stressed or depressed – others in your family or friendship circles may be as well, so tensions will be higher than usual. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, and be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes unplanned.
Stick to a budget. Money cannot buy happiness, so before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend – and keep to your budget.
Take time for self-care. Nurture yourself with a steam, a soak, a walk in the park, or curling up with a favorite book. Taking time out for yourself is a great way to nurture peace and balance in your own life.