Hallmark movies, the Christmas marketing machine, and carols display a happy family and home that set our expectations high for the holiday season. In reality, many people do not have wonderful memories or exciting plans for the holidays. It can be a stressful time.
Here are some tips to help you make your season merry
1) Manage your expectations
Recognize the unrealistic messages the media is portraying about the holiday season. Give yourself grace to not have incredible plans, or even any plans at all.
2) Develop positive self-talk to keep you focused on what you do enjoy about the holiday.
Aim for an internal calming dialogue to relax yourself when you find the pull of jealousy, stress, or guilt. For example, when attending a Christmas party you could think, “I am surrounded by friends that I am grateful for.”
3) Give yourself permission to not attend a family function that would cause a significant amount of stress.
Family can be difficult. There is no rule that you have to attend a family event. You have the right and ability to say no, or say you’re busy with something else.
4) If you would like to attend a potentially stressful event, make a plan.
Commit to only staying at an event for a limited amount of time and leave after that time is up. This can help you leave a situation prior to getting too stressed.
5) Limit alcohol intake.
The holiday season promotes imbibing. Regular hangovers and alcohol use can actually increase depressive and anxiety symptoms. Limit your alcohol intake during the holiday season. Tr
y to engage in healthy stress relieving skills like exercise or meditation, instead of alcohol use.