Skip to main content

How to Stay Stress-Free During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again when the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. This time of year more people suffer from depressive episodes than at any other time of the year, usually brought on by stress, anxiety, and sadness. With Thanksgiving just being a week away, I will share with you some things that can lessen your stress and improve your mental health.

For the last couple of years, I have had many challenges during this time of year. For one, my parents divorced and now they are remarried with separate families, my grandparents passed away and I was extremely close to them, my only child is now my prodigal waiting to come home, and I have been estranged from several family members because of addictions and mental health issues. Needless to say, the holidays can be stressful. Maybe you can relate. Have you suffered the loss of a loved one, recently been divorced, are you taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even a sick child?

Tips on how to stress-less this holiday season:

1.      Don’t try and keep up with everyone else’s spending and busyness. Do what you can do, and ask God what you should be involved in.
2.      Learn to say, “No.” Strike a balance with meeting needs of others and your needs. Set boundaries with difficult people. You don’t have to meet the demands of others. Do what is best for you family.
3.      Take care of yourself physically by exercising and getting rest when needed. Spiritually by spending daily time with God, and mentally by not complaining and speaking negative things over yourself and others.
4.      Be a blessing to someone else, or to several people.
5.      Pray for others who may be going through a difficult time, it can take your mind off your situation.
6.      Step away from all the craziness of the season and do something for yourself like, take a warm bubble bath or watch an old Christmas movie. Do something enjoyable.
7.      Start a gratitude list, and every day write out (5) things that you are thankful for. CHOOSE to focus on what you do have.
8.      Take it one day at a time. Do not project outcomes to situations before they happen.
9.      Let go of ALL guilt. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself. Let go of expectations that you might have for others. Having unrealistic expectations for yourself and others can lead to disappointment and depression.
10.  Start a new tradition for your family, such as taking communion and reading the Christmas story from the Bible.
11.  Focus on the reason for the season. Keeps things in perspective.
12.  Try and not reminisce of how things were before, this can lead to discontentment; instead focus on what is good in your life now.
13.  If you have suffered a loss or have gone through something tragic, be gentle on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others and what they are doing or what they have. This may mean getting off of Facebook and looking at everyone’s seemingly perfect life. This also may mean that you are not up to going to every Christmas program, party, or family event.

What can you add to this list? Will you join me and share your ideas, it could help someone else, and please pass this on to others who need encouragement.


Popular posts from this blog

Counselor's Corner: Healing from Trauma

→What is trauma?
A deeply distressing experience, or a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time.

Trauma can occur one time like death, natural disasters or accidents, or trauma can be prolonged and repetitive like abusive relationships, family with addictions, or combat.

Trauma that causes the most mental health issues are prolonged and repeated traumas and trauma that occurs from people especially parent-child relationships.

→What is a traumatic event?
Extreme stress that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope and overwhelms a person emotionally, cognitively and physically.

→Symptoms of trauma:
·Easily startled
·Sensitive to certain noises
·Feeling on edge
·Overwhelming feelings of guilt
·Intrusive thoughts of trauma
·Disconnected from others and difficulty trusting others
·Difficulty handling stress
·Emotional numbness

→Long-term effects of trauma can include:
·Substance and alc…

Counselor's Corner: Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Fear of failure occurs when you have tried to accomplish a goal or a task and either had setbacks, delays or no progress at all. Usually the fear of failure does not happen the first attempt at a desired outcome but afterrepeated attempts to achieve your dream or destiny.

Failure is mostly based on your perception, in other words, if you keep trying after not succeeding do you give up or keep trying? If you perceive that you are a failure and whatever you do will fail, you will not keep trying. If you believe that failure only occurs if you stop trying than you likely will continue to pursue your dreams.

I had great ambitions to become a published author. I set out on my mission to publish my first book, and I did several years ago. The problem is that even though I did have my book published, the sales of that book only covered the expenses of what I paid the publisher. I did not make a large profit and became terrified to write another book. I knew I was supposed to write another bo…

Counselor's Corner: Enjoying Life Again After Trauma

*See articles, Healing from Trauma,Healing from Emotional Pain and Trauma and God, Why did You Allow this to Happen

If you have endured any type of trauma, learning to enjoy life again will part of your healing journey. For many people who have lived through traumatic experiences whether one time or recurrent trauma’s, the brain and body goes into a protective mode by shielding itself from any further danger. This protective mode is only supposed to last until you can cope with the initial shock of the trauma. I am sure you have heard of people who are described as going into “shock” when someone they love passes away. After the initial shock wear’s off, most people begin the healing process, but for some the trauma is too difficult for them to process and they remain stuck in the time that the trauma. Repressing trauma is seen frequently in people who have a history of past trauma’s such as childhood abuse. Other ways one does not deal with the trauma they experienced is through drug …