Surviving the Holidays
Keep it simple. Decide what is important and what isn’t. Leave out the “what isn’t” without inflicting guilt on yourself.
Don’t isolate yourself. You may not feel like celebrating, but isolating only drives you deeper into depression and sadness. Attend church, family gatherings, work parties, friend connections. You may not feel like it but surely something will give your heart a smile whether it is a child with a gift, a humorous story, or hearing the Christmas story one more time.
Be kind to yourself. To keep yourself from indulging in problems or concerns, focus on things that give you comfort like a movie, a good book, a hot bath, or a cup of coffee with a friend.
Try to live outside of yourself. Take a shoebox and shop for a child for Angel Tree. Give a $1.00 to the Salvation Army at the mall. Make cookies for a neighbor. Investing in others helps us to set our worries aside even if for a little while.
Make an A to Z gratitude list. When we are stressed, hurting, or feeling loss, it is easy to not see what is good in our life. Counting our blessings can help us to feel comfort.
Limit the time you allow yourself to think about losses and stressors. Take a 15-minute thought and prayer time. Leave it in God’s hands and push yourself to go about your day. You may not completely forget your problems, or be completely removed from the emotion they create, but it will help you to not feel overwhelmed or stuck.
Change the things you can change. Let go of the things that you can’t.
Practice smiling even when you don’t feel like it. Smiling triggers “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain and sends signals that make us feel better. Wish others “Merry Christmas”. Their responses will lighten your own load.