When you think of the holidays, do they bring you warm and fuzzy feelings? Or, do the holidays bring up stress and anxiety for you?
We see in the movies that the holidays are about families being together and enjoying each other’s company. For some of us that may be true but for others, it’s the opposite. As a child, if you had a positive experiences you probably recreate positive experiences with your own family today. There may be traditions like decorating the house, cooking a special dish that grandma used to make, or baking cookies that you continue to do every year. But, if the holidays were difficult for you as a child, you may dread the holidays or you may even want to skip the holidays all together. If you want the holidays to be different, here are 5 things to try.
1. Help someone in need. Donate your time or money. Many homeless shelters need help serving food during the holidays. Donate toys to a charity for kids or kids who are in the hospital. Send a care package to someone in the military. It’s feels good to help people especially during the holidays.
2. Shop online. If the craziness of trying to find a parking space at the mall during the holidays causes you stress, shop online.
3. Make a gift. Sometimes we over spend during the holidays. Making a handmade gift is thoughtful and touches people’s hearts. Whether money is an issue or not, your friend or loved one will appreciate it.
4. Take care of yourself. All the rushing around, shopping, visiting friends and family, and cooking can be overwhelming and stressful. Plan an activity to take care of yourself: exercise, read a book, meditation, go for a walk, do something fun, talk with about your stress level.
5. Avoid situations where you feel obligated to do something. If you know visiting Aunt Mary is going to cause you stress, don’t go. You have the right to say “No.” When we feel obligated to do something it’s because we really don’t want to do it. Then, after we go, we are angry and resentful. Sometimes when we get invitations to go to a party, visit someone’s house, or do a gift exchange, we need to ask ourselves: Do I really want to go/see the people there? How will I feel there? How will I feel after? Then, make a decision that is right for you and your family.