The holiday season can be a tough one for some people. It’s a time for gratitude and gathering but for many, disconnection, overwhelm and loneliness ensue. Depression and anxiety can feel ever more present during these festive times. Why is that?
As women, we are inherently planners. We are the hub around which everything else seems to revolve around. Women plan, set goals and expectations, for getting an extreme amount of things done during this time. Often, what we expect and what actually happens are far from aligned. We have visions of happy, harmonious gatherings, but instead, mayhem ensues, and people aren’t perfect, and everyone is in a mood, and the whole idea of a happy holiday, falls apart.
Can this year be different?
Is there a better way to build flexibility into a time that is steep with tradition? Let’s unpack some ideas that might help you to truly have a happy holiday.
- Choose just one or two traditions or activities that are the most meaningful to you. Let anything else beyond that go.
- Remember that people aren’t perfect and they have negative feelings, or moods. Those feelings and moods may collide with all your hard work and best intentions. This is an issue for them, don’t make it yours. Allow them the space to work out what bothers them and try to keep your own emotions regulated.
- If you find yourself alone and want to be with people, look for ways to make connections. There are so many opportunities to serve people in your community. Plan to see a movie or a Christmas play, invite friends or others that may be alone. Maybe spending a few days retreating from the stress and decompressing is what you need and that’s okay.
- Give yourself permission to skip some chores this month. Not every closet has to be pristine for the holidays.
- Don’t overschedule the family. The more you allow the kids to do, means that much more for you.
- Simplify your gift giving. Neighbor and friend gifts are nice but so is a hand written card with warm holiday wishes. Take inventory of the things you get the kids as well. Are there ways you can cut costs and still provide them the happiest of holidays?
- Try to keep a healthy perspective. Think of the entire month as a Thanksgiving meal. You over plan, work for days, go with little to no sleep and the whole thing is over in 12 minutes and no one even touched the candied yams and green bean casserole but everyone had the time of their life! You can do a lot that overwhelms you and destroys the point to the season, or you can do a little less and be a lot more relaxed and happy. When it’s all said and done, it’s going to be a wonderful time of year.
Remember that your mental health is just as important as anything else on your radar during this time of year. If you are healthy mentally, your family will be better off as well! What are some ways you can make the holidays happy?