2020 was a stressful time for the holidays season, as so many of us weren’t able to be together with loved ones, family and friends. With more progress on the pandemic, it’s possible to hope for a full 2021 holiday season that is back to what we’ve traditionally experienced. And even though it’s an exciting, joyous time, the holidays can also be stressful. Here’s some tips on how to cope:
The pandemic will likely be the wild card for the upcoming holiday season. We can all positively impact the likelihood of joyous holidays by being vaccinated, receiving any indicated booster vaccination, practicing social distance, engaging in regular hand washing and other infection control practices, and masking as required. The more we are safe now, the more hopeful we can be for the holidays this year!
The holiday season can be an emotional time, especially if a family member or loved one recently passed. It’s OK to feel sad and express how you’re feeling with others. It might be helpful to honor their memory during the season. Whether it’s saying a prayer for them during a religious service or before a meal, lighting a candle in their honor at the dinner table before the holiday feast, making a donation to their favorite charity, or just sharing a favorite story about them, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings. If you’re struggling with grief, please call us at 844-599-3700 to make an appointment with one of our licensed counselors.
Plan ahead with your budget
Society puts a lot of pressure on us to spend, spend, spend — especially during the holidays. Whether it’s shelling out a lot of money on fancy holiday food or big-ticket gift items, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy. The best thing you can do to avoid spending stress is to create a budget beforehand. Planning a menu ahead of time can help you stay focused when you go to the grocery store and avoid those last-minute impulse buys. Starting a family gift exchange is a fun, economical way to make sure you stick to your budget.
Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but don’t go overboard
Whether it’s cakes, cookies, cheeses, drinks or rich holiday dinners, it’s easy to indulge during the holiday season. But there are a few ways you can sneak in some healthful habits in-between bites:
- Eat a nutritious snack before attending a holiday meal or party. If you already feel a little full before you attend, you won’t eat everything that’s put in front of you.
- Stay hydrated.
- Create a new holiday tradition by going for a brisk walk before or after a meal.
Talk to your doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Because there’s less sunlight during the winter, some people suffer from a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Especially in bone-crackling cold Illinois, we spend a lot of time indoors during the winter. You might think that the holidays are causing you to feel hopeless, fatigued and socially withdrawn, but those are all symptoms of SAD. Your doctor can talk to you about how you’re feeling and can treat the condition with light therapy, counseling and/or medications.