The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year but for some of us it can also be a time of stress, hectic schedules, and mixed emotions. During the holidays, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to friends, families, and communities. Here are some suggestions for managing stress during the holiday season, feeling connected, and enjoying this special time of year.
Stay connected to the reason for the season. It is very easy to forget why we celebrate the holidays due to the heavy emphasis on spending money. For many, the holidays are a time for religious celebrations tied to specific customs and traditions. Remain mindful of why you celebrate and the importance of your faith during this holiday season. And if you don't participate in a religion, you can still remain mindful of what this time of the year means to you.
Volunteer. Give back to your community during the holidays by helping out at a local Food Bank, volunteering at the Humane Society, or visiting a nursing home with your church to sing Christmas carols to the residents, to name a few possible ways to show your generosity and connect with your community.
Practice forgiveness. Unresolved issues among family and friends keep many people apart during the holidays. Sometimes resolving these issues requires forgiveness. Journaling offers you the opportunity to work towards forgiveness, a process that takes time. Use your journal to work through your feelings about the person needing forgiveness and its role in your own healing.
Capture special moments. The holidays are often a time of celebration; an opportunity to create special moments with friends and family. Write down those memories and include the feelings you were experiencing as those moments were happening. Make this a permanent record of the holiday memories you make.
Be silent. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the season, it is important to make sure you have time for yourself. Make self-care a priority during the holidays. Spend 5-20 minutes of uninterrupted time to connect to your thoughts, to your feelings and to simply create a space for silence to exist.
Practice gratitude. The holidays can create a consumerism mentality making people feel pressured to spend a lot of money on gifts, many times going in debt to do so. Try focusing instead on what you are thankful for. Create a gratitude list highlighting the things, people, and experiences that money cannot buy like a baby's smile, the kindness of strangers, or the first snowfall of winter. Instead of spending money on gifts you can’t afford, write cards or make your own gifts for friends and family.
Develop a new year mindset. Many people wait until the new year to begin identifying goals and intentions. But why wait? Use the last days of December to create your intentions and plans for the new year. Be sure to write them down to refer to when the New Year rolls around.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a fantastic year ahead!