December. No matter what you celebrate (or don’t celebrate), this time of year is a mixed bag. We have the opportunity to experience so many great things — parties, maybe a couple of days off work, a chance to catch up with friends and family, sparkly lights, snow (OK, this is a good thing to me, but I know not everyone loves it!), giving, COOKIES, and so much more. Despite that, many people feel stressed, sad, or overwhelmed. Not everyone can be with their family and friends and not everyone can afford all of *this.* The over-commercialization of just about everything this time of year is upsetting to lots of people. The list goes on and on for the good and not-so-good this time of year. Let’s talk about some things that can help the not-so-good:
Manage your expectations. You probably can’t do it all or have it all.
Don’t compare yourself to others and resist comparing this year to past years. Again, manage those expectations.
Pace yourself! Make lists. Prioritize. Stay organized. Get some sleep.
While you’re pacing yourself, remember to do that with your sweets and alcohol consumption as well.
Start new family traditions that include free things. There are lots of free activities going on around St. Louis this time of year. I loved riding around looking at lights when I was little and I still do!
Give. Your time is valuable to someone, whether it’s an organization or a neighbor.
Be kind. Smile. Making someone else’s day is guaranteed to make you feel better.
Say thank you and say it like you mean it.
Ask for help. You know someone who loves to bake, go shopping, give hugs, whatever. Just ask.
Make space for feeling sad, stressed, lonely, overwhelmed. It’s normal. Holidays and the end of the year are natural times to reflect and miss loved ones that are no longer with us. Accepting that it’s ok to feel this way is easier and healthier than resisting or filing away those feelings. (I know it’s not as easy as it sounds. I know.)
Sometimes these feelings persist beyond the holidays. If you’re concerned that what you’re experiencing is more than just holiday blues or stress from a busy schedule, give me a call. I’m here for a holiday mental health booster or longer term help.
All the best to you and yours,