Finally, it’s Winter Break!
While the holidays can be filled with joy, love and happiness, for many of us it also brings stress, frustration and sadness.
The household can become very crowded this time of year with kids home from school, parents off work and extended family coming to visit. That many personalities under one roof can cause tension, but here are a few simple things we can all remember to do to help decrease the angst and increase the enjoyment.
- Set aside differences. Every family has their “hot button” topics that invariably cause disagreements and arguments. Try to set those differences aside for a few weeks and accept others the way they are. Take the time to address the issues privately, at a more appropriate time.
- Make time for the simple things. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season; planning parties, get togethers and extravagant vacations. While those can all be wonderful, a simple walk with a loved one can be just as rewarding. Make time for the small things like playing tag or hide and seek outdoors with your kids, decorate cookies by the fire, have a dance party in your living room. It’s these small things that will make the fondest memories.
- Don’t create grand expectations. When thinking of the holidays, we often have high expectations; a big holiday feast, the perfect gifts, the perfect get together. These expectations can be restricting and can lead to disappointment if things don’t work out exactly as planned. Try to remember that sometimes the greatest things are the things we are not expecting.
- Don’t overspend. The holiday season can create a great deal of financial stress; we want to buy those we love something wonderful to show them just how much we truly care about them. It is easy to forget that a simple thought of kindness can show more love than that expensive gadget they have been wanting. Be creative with your gifts and stick to a budget.
If you find yourself alone during the holidays or feeling lonely, that’s perfectly normal, especially if it’s a painful time in your life (loss of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, etc.). Take time to process your feelings and find healthy ways to cope – pretending those feelings don’t exist, can only make it worse.
- Give yourself the gift of YOU. Don’t forget to breathe, eat healthy, drink moderately, exercise and be kind to yourself. Go for a run, grab a notepad and journal what you feel, take a yoga class, be with nature.
- Ask for help. Reach out to friends, family, spiritual advisors for guidance and support. There is no shame in asking for help.
- Volunteer. Sometimes being of service to others in need, can help with our own feelings of despair. Call a local homeless shelter, food pantry, hospital, community center and ask if they need an extra pair of hands.
Remembering these few little things can make a big difference in keeping the holidays joyful and manageable. Take time to relax and reflect on the memories you have shared with those around you, and create new ones to reflect upon next year.