Yesterday was one of the most relaxing Thanksgiving I have had in a while. It was just my mom and me. We had planned on going outside and doing some yard work but Mother Nature had other ideas. We were not able to do what we planned because it rained. I don’t go back to work until Monday so it was refreshing to be able to lounge around and enjoy the time with my family. It’s amazing how the little things in life mean the most to us.
As I make the rounds to the various places I want to go today, I’m grateful to have a little bit of time to recharge my batteries. I didn’t realize how tired I had become. I work the equivalent of three jobs. I don’t mind it because I truly love what I do. I’m still taking classes and doing everything I can to better myself and improve my lot in life. I believe it’s important to never stop learning because when we stop, we don’t get to experience things in this world that we may have had our eyes closed. Opportunities do come by every day. Some are bigger than others. You just have to be receptive to what is being offered. If you aren’t even willing to listen to your choices, then you will never know where your life could lead.
Gearing up for the weekend is always challenging for me. I have responsibilities on the weekend that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Overcoming depression and anxiety can be rather cumbersome. The holidays seem to make it more difficult to want to do what we need to because we tend to feel overwhelmed. I don’t mean to speak for everyone else because you may not be in that category but a vast majority of folks I know are currently feeling this way. I thought it might be helpful to share some tips I found through the Mayo Clinic about dealing with stress throughout the holidays.
Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression
Stress affects all of us at different times in our lives. The holidays can make things worse because we feel the pressure to come through with deadlines and gifts. We often forget the true meaning behind the holidays.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Do you feel like you are in a sinking boat and have no raft? Do you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Do you feel abandoned by those you thought were your friends? Do you feel you have no one to share the holidays with? Do you feel like you are better off alone? You don’t want others to feel sorry for you or feel that you are a burden to others because you live in pain? There may be a lot of other feelings you may have but acknowledge those feelings. Have a hard conversation with yourself.
- Reach out. No one should be alone for the holidays. It’s depressing and it can lead to abandonment issues. If you find yourself with nowhere to go, you might consider volunteering at a shelter or giving back to the community. You might get with a group through a church or other organization that others who would be alone are sharing the holidays with strangers. You may find you meet some people who will change your life. If you are having a get together with family and friends and know others who might be alone, invite them. Make others feel wanted and appreciated. This is a season for kindness. God knows this year has been hard enough. Even if you don’t get to go out, you might find ways to interact with others. I know that we have to keep social distancing but we have to find ways to work together. We must all include one another any way we can.
- Be realistic. This holiday season is unlike any other in our lifetime. We may have to get more creative to celebrate it together. Virtual gatherings are becoming critical with one another. No matter what you choose to do, keep the feeling of the holidays in your heart as much as you can.
- Set aside differences. I love my family but I disagree with many of them politically. Keep politics out of the holiday season. You may have disagreements but you are all blessed to have each other. Find ways to engage in conversations that mean something to all of you. You don’t have to start World War 3 to function as a family. There are times and places for differences. The holidays are not one of them.
- Stick to a budget. “Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives:
- Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
- Give homemade gifts.
- Start a family gift exchange.”
- I liked how the Mayo Clinic stated this paragraph so I didn’t change it but it’s imperative to do this. The holidays can break your piggy bank. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Sharing can be as simple as spending time with someone.
- Plan ahead. Watch the grocery ads and other places that you want to go to and plan your meal and holiday accordingly.
- Learn to say no. This is hard for many of us. When the boss tells you they want you to take on additional tasks, you feel the need to agree. When the family wants you to do something for them, they guilt trip you into doing it. Learning to say no can be very helpful in the long run.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. “Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese, or drinks.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
- Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
- Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.
- Be aware of how the information culture can produce undue stress, and adjust the time you spend reading news and social media as you see fit.”
- Seek professional help if you need it. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need help. We often get so overwhelmed that asking for help can feel embarrassing. It shouldn’t. Remember there are a lot of folks dealing with similar issues. You aren’t alone.
I hope that we can all get through the holidays spectacularly. I’m a realist. I recognize that we all have days that we fight through anxiety and depression. This is the time of year that should be joyous, but it can be very stressful. No matter what you may be feeling, remember that we all need each other. We all have opinions and instead of making everything so political, let’s try to remember that we are all people in need of being listened to. We all need to feel that we matter and holidays are one of the most crucial times of year that people are trying to be heard. Lend an ear when others need to vent. Be a sounding board when others think no one cares. You might be surprised at what you learn along the way.