De-Stressing the Holidays

Final Thoughts on De-Stressing the Holidays

De-stressing the holidays is possible with mindfulness and self-care techniques. Learn how to stay calm and centered during this busy time.

If you haven’t yet bought that last-minute gift for your best friend, sweetheart, or parent, now’s most assuredly the time to do it! That’s because if you read this article on the day it was delivered to your inbox, you’re one day away from Christmas Eve-Christmas Day. Or you’re on Day 6 of Hannukah. 

An unexpected sense of calm can take place at times like this. We may see no need to get panicked or bent out of shape. For Christmas, the certainty that the Holiday is just around the corner asks us to consider the following:

Giving presents: Regarding the presents that  I want to give but may not be able to afford this year,  is it more important to buy them gifts or arrange experiences we can share?  In an earlier article, I wrote that when we look back a few months later on the Holiday Season, we tend to recall the times we enjoyed with family members and friends rather than the exact gifts they gave us. This is because experiences are more emotionally powerful this time of year, and good feelings bolster relationships.

There are numerous low-cost ideas for creating Holiday experiences that may last for years to come: scheduling a museum trip on a local free day, going for hot chocolate and ice skating, hosting a game or Christmas movie night, or visiting neighborhoods that have colorful light displays.

A little creative thought will yield a list of activities you and your loved ones can enjoy together between now and New Years’ celebrations. That, plus one or two actual presents, will make for an abundant Holiday experience. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder: This time of year, it is helpful to become aware of our moods because this is when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can occur. Generally speaking, SAD is when we experience a low mood and decreased energy associated with shorter, colder days. It’s when less sunlight hits our eyes. There are many ways to deal with SAD. You’ll discover them if you do some research. The point here is that if you are experiencing a lower mood this time of year, this is a time to be compassionate with yourself! There may be something that you can do about it.

Holiday FOMO: There’s lots of pressure to be social during the holidays, mainly if our social feeds are full of parties or if we haven’t gotten into the “Holiday Spirit” like other people. The term FOMO, according to  Jaime Kurtz, a professor of psychology at James Madison University, is the Fear Of Missing Out. 

This fear can be caused by “comparing our insides to other people’s outsides.”  We don’t know what others feel. We only know what they appear to be feeling. This is promoted by social media, where others look like they’re having the time of their lives while we’re exhausted, lonely, or away from those we love during the Holidays.

The antidote to FOMO is the practice of gratitude. Look and see if it’s possible to create a “Holiday Gratitude Journal,” in which you focus upon that for which you are thankful.  Even the most miniature items on this list will train your brain to look for little “points of light.” 

Cliff: Last year was the worst! I’d just broken up with my girlfriend. I didn’t have the money to visit family. My closest friend was on a skiing trip with his family. I created my Holiday Gratitude Journal. It started small, with how I enjoyed the caffe latte and gingerbread at my favorite coffee shop. Next, I treated myself to binging on the Holiday movies I knew would bring me some warm chuckles. Finally, I volunteered to serve Christmas dinner at our local food locker. It turned out to be one of the best holidays I can remember! And I’d kept a record of this in my journal!

Please have the best Holiday Season yet. Practice focusing on what you have. It will keep scarcity at bay and bring you possibly the most beautiful and wonder-filled time of all!


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