5 Ways To De-Stress The Holidays
By Anna Hessel
It’s That Time of Year
With the holiday season upon us, thoughts of festive decorations, holiday baking, twinkling lights, caroling, sleigh rides through the snow, mistletoe, hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, Menorahs, Nativities, “The Nutcracker”, Hallmark movies, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are at the forefront of our minds.
However, holiday stress is often a painful, and very real issue at this time of year. Religious and cultural celebrations, such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the ushering in of the New Year, can quickly become more hectic than joyful. Don’t get trapped into thinking that parties and gifts are the only way to celebrate the holidays. Keeping perspective is helpful. There are ways to alleviate the stress, strain and cost.
A Christmas of Another Color
Statistics show that suicides are at an all-time high during the holiday season, as well as familial tensions; the idea of “Blue Christmas” is the truth for many.
Blue Christmas Services
Faking joviality makes no sense. If you are at a painful point in your life, you are not alone. At this time of year there are millions experiencing loss, loneliness, illness, or depression. The sadness is recognized by many churches and some have opted to hold “Blue Christmas Services” where they offer comfort, hope, and healing to those who are struggling with these, or similar issues.
These devotions, with peaceful music in a calming atmosphere help soothe folks who are frazzled during the Yuletide. Many times “Blue Christmas” is an evening of reflection for the longest night of the year (winter solstice), around the 21st of December. The shorter days and lack of sunlight can even lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a category of major depression that emerges in the winter months.
5 Things We Can Do To Relieve Stress
There are many easy ways to avoid the trap of seasonal stress, strain, and ensuing depression:
1. Avoid visiting your family if it causes fights or jeopardizes your mental or emotional well-being, avoid spending time with them.
2. Go for it. Enjoy the cup of eggnog, eat that Christmas cookie, and ignore snarky comments about your weight or calories. That’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.
3. Stop creating debt. It is not necessary to overspend or create debt to let your loved ones know how much you care. Hand-made presents, or a gift of your time, will be cherished more than an expensive, store-bought item by those who truly care about you. Don’t forget to give yourself a small gift that you can afford.
4. Take care of your health: stay hydrated, eat fresh fruits and veggies in addition to the
party fare. Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation, add a cup of a seasonal herbal tea to help relax. Enjoy the out-of-doors, if weather permits. Get a massage; take a hot bath by candlelight.
5. Relax. Stop striving for perfection. None of us are perfect – simply enjoy what you are able to do.
Give Peace A Chance
Holidays were not created to cause stress. They evolved to celebrate faith, friendship, family, fun, and hope for an often tired and seemingly hopeless world. They are not meant to be aggravating or tension filled.
Please relax. Hopefully the tips I have suggested will help you enjoy the holidays. I wish you a bless holiday season.