What are some tips for dealing with the holidays if they generally make you feel stressed or depressed? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
If you struggle with managing high stress or depression, the holidays can feel like you’re running a tinsel-covered gauntlet. In slow-motion. With someone forcing you to run with bells on.
Less sunlight, increased demands on your time, energy, and financial resources, and an overall expectation to have a “happy” holiday can all contribute to feeling more stressed or depressed.
There are several things you can do, though, to keep your stress levels down through the season, and maybe even find yourself enjoying it.
1. Determine what’s important to you about the holidays. Ask yourself what you want to celebrate, and why? Do you want your holidays to be about your faith, your family, service, other important connections, and/or holiday traditions? What do you truly want to a be a part of? Figuring this out can make a huge difference in how you navigate the season, as it can act as your guide to what to say yes and no to during the holidays. And calculate how low your personal energy battery charge will be after events you are saying “yes” to, so you build in time to recharge.
2. Plan your pitstops. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can feel like running a marathon for anyone already on overload. So, like a good marathoner, plan your pitstops where you’re going to stop, refresh, refuel, and relaunch. Schedule in downtime, time with that friend who always helps you keep perspective, a session with your therapist, a massage, a nap, a run, or just time to chill alone.
3. Say NO to drama. The increased demands on everyone at the holidays can create the opportunity for “drama” to unfold. Whether that occurs in the workplace, in the checkout line, or at family get togethers… the holidays are rarely the time to attempt to manage conflict successfully. Table any heated discussions or simply refuse to participate. When the holidays are over, you can revisit any issue that is unresolved when heads are cooler and everyone is less stressed.
4. Shoot for the middle. Ditch perfectionism, if that’s a problem for you, as well as All or Nothing thinking. Instead, work to find creative solutions instead of spreading yourself, your family, or your paycheck too thin. Keep your expectations realistic and recognize that something is better than nothing. And that nothing has to be perfect. Remember that some of the best memories many people have of holidays past are of ones where nothing went as planned it was all managed with good cheer.
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