A HAPPY holiday
GETTING A HANDLE ON SEASONAL STRESS
BY PETE ALFANO
Tis the season...to be jolly?
For most of us, the holidays are a festive time of year. Starting bad behavior. Yes, it is easier said than done, but if you visit with Thanksgiving, or, nowadays, Halloween, we eagerly anticipate celebrating with parties, holiday meals and drinks, exchanging gifts, and spending time with family and friends.
But for some, the holidays can be filled with self-imposed stress. From planning the perfect party, finding the right gift, decking the halls, and devising decadent homemade treats, we can often lose sight of being in the moment.
For others, who have lost family members or are just lonely, the holidays can make them sink into deeper depression. It is called the Blue Christmas syndrome. The question is, how can we manage stress and depression so that we can enjoy the holiday season instead of dreading it?
For starters, be fiscally responsible. You can’t buy your kids everything on their list or indulge yourself and friends in gifts that you will still be paying for next holiday season. Set a spending limit and stick to it. A credit card can be your worst enemy this time of year. And if you don’t want to rub elbows with fellow shoppers in a crowded mall, shop online.
But, overindulgence is not just a financial issue. People tend to eat and drink more from November through December until early January. That can result in unwanted weight friends or family, have a healthy, filling snack beforehand, which will curb your appetite. And set a limit on how much alcohol you consume, especially if you are driving.
Reuniting with family members can be a double-edged sword. It is great to have visitors spending a few days in your home but don’t let them overstay your invitation. None of us wants to deal with what Chevy Chase faced in the Christmas Vacation movie. On the other hand, don’t be disappointed if close friends or extended family cannot visit. Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype make it possible to reunite you even if you are miles apart.
Also, be aware of Seasonal Affection Disorder (SAD). Even if you endure the holiday season, the transition from fall to winter, even in warmer climates, means shorter days and perhaps nothing to look forward to until spring or summer.
Here are a few other rules of engagement to manage the holiday season. Make a daily schedule of what you want to accomplish and stick to it. But most importantly, give yourself time off, as well. Meditate, read a book, go for a long walk, or engage in some other form of exercise to relieve stress and anxiety. A little rest goes a long way, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.