Good cheer, happiness, family and a spirit of giving are a big part of the holiday season. But for many people, stress and loneliness are major players that upset plans to stay positive. If your tension level rises when the decor goes up, you are not alone. It is common for some people to feel more anxious or lonely as the season begins.
Holiday stress can trigger negative thinking that builds on itself. To avoid this cycle, we can take this opportunity to find new comforts and enjoy the holidays differently. We can take simple, meaningful steps for healthy self-care, and put some fun back into our celebrations.
Managing Expectations of Yourself and Others
No matter how cheerful people appear, the holidays are stressful for almost everyone. It’s chaotic for most people. There are more cars on the road, more people in the stores, and more events on the schedule. All these pressures mean people are more quickly flustered or annoyed.
At the same time, we are swamped with ideal images of laughing friends, joyful children, loving couples and dazzling dinner tables. Most people look around and feel the grass is greener for everyone else, while for them, important parts of life are missing or inadequate.
As hard as it may seem, try to insert something positive into your life, even if it’s small. You might brainstorm some plans you would enjoy such as:
- Volunteering at a shelter for those in need, or an animal shelter
- Seeing a friend for coffee or taking time to call someone you care for
- Taking your dog to a favorite trail or dog park
- Seeing an art exhibit, free concert or holiday display
- Doing something nice for yourself – like having your hair done or getting a massage
- Finally reading that book you haven’t had time to pick up