Halloween has come and gone, and, for better or worse, Holiday Time is upon us. For the next eight weeks or so, it’s a mad rush to the end of the year, and all of the trappings, trimmings, parades, and feasts that come with it.
In all of the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose sight of not only what the holidays mean to us, but also what we mean to each other, as well. Here are five ways to take care of yourself during this holiday season.
- Revisit what the holidays mean for you. As we grow older, it’s easy to think of the holidays as just a checklist of things to be done before we ring in the new year, and some people might feel sad when they’re done, as though they’ve missed out on something. Some folks don’t like holidays – they’d rather stay home alone on Thanksgiving Day, or don’t want to think about Christmas until it’s over. If you are that person, embrace it! But if you find yourself feeling nostalgic about the holidays and miss the wonder and warmth that comes with them because you’ve become a slave to your (and your family’s) calendar, try to take a little while to figure out what you want from the holiday, and don’t be afraid to shift things around to find what you need.
- Make time for your favorites. Don’t forget to find the time to enjoy your favorite holiday treat – whether it’s stringing popcorn for the tree, making an extra batch of sufganyot, or watching your favorite TV specials. So what if you feel like a kid again – that might be half the fun!
- When it comes to your family, care for yourself. For a lot of people, holiday time means a lot of time with family – and if your relationship with your family is a strained one, remember to care for yourself during this time. If you’re traveling to be with them, bring along things from home (a special pillow, a journal, a favorite CD or music playlist) that can connect you to yourself when things get overwhelming. If you’re unable to see your family, be sure to surround yourself with people who care for you to help fight loneliness. Remember that there are people in your life who care about you, even if they don’t happen to be directly related to you.
- It’s just a few days. I know, I know – it seems like the holidays are every day between October 31st and January 1st, and that’s a lot of days! But keep in mind that the nebulous holidays are really just a few days. If you’re overwhelmed, just be reminded that most of November is not a holiday (just the 27th), and the December ones don’t begin until mid-month this year.
- It’s not about stuff. Gifts and materal things are nice, but the major reasons these holidays are celebrated have little to do with them. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple by the Macabees. Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christian Messiah. Kwanzaa is the celebration of the culture and values of Africans. Even Festivus, a secular holiday made popular by the writers of Seinfeld, was created as a humorous way to reject the commercialism of the holiday season. Although it’s early November, we’re all seeing the onslaught of TV commercials and Internet ads clamoring for our money to use for gifts – but don’t let them overwhelm you. Whatever your reason for the season, being made sick over whether or not you’ve found “the perfect gift,” is probably not it.
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at openthoseojos.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117.
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