Has the holiday season got you down??

The holiday season is one of the best times around… right?? So why do so many people feel SO stressed out during the holidays?  I’ve read a lot of articles lately discussing this issue and thought I would compile them into a nice holiday blog. (this is not all inclusive, nor am I a doctor/therapist/expert so take this as you will)

Here are some reasons why people are down around the holidays:

1. Financial stress. Buying presents, traveling and entertaining for the holidays can all add up and that causes even more financial stress in a rough economy. So what can you do about it.  Some people are deciding not to buy gifts at all this holiday season as found in an article in the red eye.  Of course there are always those people who save a little each month in anticipation of the holiday season so it’s not such a jolt when it comes along.

2. Shorter days. During the holiday time is when the days are shorter, the sun is out less and it’s dark when you leave for work and dark when you come home.  This tends to make people SAD (Seasonal Affective Depression).  Here are a few things that you can do to help battle SAD this season: wear bright clothes,  use a light lamp, hang out with your friends, go outside and enjoy the snow, or join a gym (working out releases endorphins and also gets you in shape…so it’s a win-win).

3. Relationships (or lack of). Being single and being in a rela someone tionship can be extra stressful during the holiday season. As a couple you have the stress of where you will spend your holiday time between both families, making sure that you get your special a gift that they deserve and will remember. To help alleviate some of this stress make sure you communicate with each other about what your plans are and possibly set a limit on how much you want to spend on each other in gifts.  Of course, being single isn’t any easier…You see couples walking the mag mile window shopping, ice skating hand-in-hand, going to holiday parties together, etc.  But being single during the holidays isn’t all that bad.  Here are a few good things about being single during the holidays (and if you’re in a relationship don’t get any ideas about breaking up over these few things…): you only have to visit one family during the holiday, you don’t have to stress over what to buy your special someone, and you save money buy not having to buy that special someone a gift.

4. Family. Everyone loves their family… well I guess not everyone, but most of us do. So why does that get us down during the holidays?? Holidays are all about spending time with family and celebrating together, but the added stress of trying to impress everyone or deal with your crazy Aunt Ruth might be enough to bring you down.  So here’s a few ways you can help minimize the stress of your family during the holiday: Plan ahead-knowing where you are going, who you are going to see and what topics you might want to avoid in the conversation could save you a ton of defensive responses after a few eggnogs have been consumed. Stay calm-understanding that most people experience conflict with their family during the holidays the best thing to do is walk away if you are feeling stressed and feel that you may say something that you could regret in the future.

5. Dealing with Grief. A lot of people experience the loss of a family member, close friend or traumatic event that occurs in their lives around the holiday time.  Getting through the holidays with a smile on your face and being able to make it to family functions and holiday parties without a meltdown may seem easy, but I’m sure it’s easier said than done. I am fortunate to have never experienced anything like this but have read this blog that may help: 10 tips for those who grieve. It mentions things such as developing a plan, talking about your feelings and getting help when needed.  I hope this helps out.

Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a fun time… a time for racing through the malls the week (or day) before Christmas dealing with the crowds, stressing over how you are going to get all those presents wrapped in time and who’s going to be making the Christmas cookies for the party tomorrow.  JUST KIDDING… it’s about spending time with those you love, getting out to enjoy the snow with your kids, ice skating in the park and walking around viewing the extravagant Christmas lights scattered around town.

So enjoy the your holiday and stay happy and healthy!

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