BY ELISA WALLACE COPPEDE
For many, the holiday season can bring a mix of emotions. For those who are in happy, thriving relationships with wonderful family dynamics, it can be an enjoyable time for all to reconvene. Yet, for many others, this is a time of anxiety and pressure.
First comes the constant barrage of questions: So [insert name here] when are you going to find time to settle down and get yourself a husband? [Insert name here], isn’t it time for you and [insert name here] to go ahead and have those kiddies? Next, comes the rebirth of arguments from family members who can’t seem to get over “that one time that family member did that thing.” While this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” for many, it is a roller coaster of content, then depressing feelings.
Sometimes when we see family members, we revert to old childhood patterns which may hurt us and remind us of challenging times. Even if we think we had worked through these patterns, they just can’t seem to stop popping back up. While depression can occur during any time of year, the stress and anxiety during the months of November and December may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.
On top of the influx of feelings, the holidays are known to be a heavy drinking season. When attending parties, especially if one is already feeling upset, many tend to “overindulge.” This leads to the snowball effect of feeling depressed. Feeling anxious already at the thought of this season? Rather than simply “grin and bear it,” there are numerous coping methods to overcome holiday anxiety and depression. Read on for five tips for all to ease the barrage that this joyous season can instantly bring.
Tip #1: Routine, Routine, Routine! Yes, this season brings on countless schedule changes. However, if you can stick to your normal routine of, at least, exercise, this can help alleviate the anxiety this season supplies. Do you normally go running in the morning? Set out on a new trail when traveling for a holiday family visit. Yoga on Wednesdays? Continue by attending a new yoga studio. Lucky for all. there are plenty of exercise-on-the-go apps that allows you to attend gym classes everywhere!
Tip #2: Do all “in moderation.” Yes, of course, all should be encouraged to drink in moderation, but what about the other activities that this season brings. From shopping to decorating to eating, we all should strive to not go overboard. Rather than get each of your siblings a gift, think about doing a “Secret Santa” raffle where you only must shop for one sibling. Wanting to decorate the entire outside of your home in lights? Don’t. This not only is a huge electric bill, but there is something stylish of the simple classic wreath. Love the sweets that the holiday parties provide? Rather than enjoying them all, pick one and enjoy after a healthy dinner.
Tip #3: Time for some new traditions! If you go to one relative’s house every year which seems to bring on stress, try switching it up. You could do this by either inviting them to your home or asking another family member to host. The new location can be beneficial if closer to where you live, as well as bring new, happier memories.
Tip #4: Give up unnecessary societal expectations. According to the WebMD article, “Home for the Holidays,” there is no need to fill certain roles. “There’s a lot of cultural pressure during the holidays,” the article states. “We tend to compare ourselves with these idealized notions of perfect families and perfect holidays.” If you have negative feelings, don’t try to reject them. Remember that there’s nothing wrong or shameful about feeling down during the holidays.
Tip #5: Stay connected. It is vital to stay in touch with those family and friends who love you during this stressful time. Make sure to leave time to spend with those who value you. If they don’t live close by, call them for a “reality check” or some “grounding.” Remember to ask for support if you need it.