Each year during the holidays, I feel more frazzled than I do festive. What are some things I can do to reduce and manage my stress and anxiety so I can enjoy the holiday season?
There are many people struggling with the added burden of holiday stress, and there is no shortage of advice on how to cope. One of the primary stressors for many is the feeling of isolation. We are inundated with images and messages of family, joy and the holiday spirit, which often conflicts with the occurrences of everyday life. But, the truth is you’re not alone in feeling depressed, angry or stressed. And, because the embarrassment or shame attached to having these feelings is still so widespread, no one wants to admit to having these feelings. By not admitting our true feelings, it can isolate us even further.
This is not a list of “10 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress” (that can be found in the latest issue of our Healthy Generations Magazine), but rather a simple suggestion that will help keep you from becoming overwhelmed with negative emotions. Talking to someone helps. It just does. The “chemistry” of our emotions must finish itself once started, and somehow find release. We are literally “chemical” beings and there are specific chemical reactions which occur, causing our thoughts and emotions. Once we begin a chain of thoughts that lead to negative emotions, the chain reaction must run its course. How we cope along the way will determine the amount of pain we endure. If you find yourself with no one you feel comfortable confiding in, choose a professional, like a psychotherapist or counselor. Check if your health insurance plan offers assistance programs where some of your counseling sessions would be free-of-charge. If money is an issue in seeking professional support, perhaps you can find a church and talk to a clergyman. Pastors, rabbis, priests, chaplains, they’ll listen and many are quite gifted in caring for the human spirit.
Most importantly, if you are convinced you’re not worth the moments it might take someone to care for you, stop right now, and believe me – it’s just not true. Get up and interact with others, do something, I mean anything. I have discovered purpose can be found in doing even the smallest act. Volunteer at a soup kitchen for an hour, call to check on a friend…anything to lift you out of the moment. Interacting with others often leads to conversation and connecting with others …and feeling better.