For some people the “most wonderful time of the year” can feel like the worst. You might be grieving the recent loss of a loved one, spending the special days far from family and friends, stressed over money, and the list goes on. Although the holidays can be difficult, you can take care of yourself and try to stay hopeful. The tips below can help make your holiday more meaningful.
Surround Yourself with Support
When you’re feeling down it can feel natural to pull away from friends and family- but do your best to avoid too much alone time. Talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust, or call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). any time, day or night.
Taking care of "you" during the holidays helps to keep your mind and body ready to deal with sadness and stress. It’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings so that you are better able to cope with the sadness, anxiety and grief you may feel. If you are a parent or caregiver, it’s crucial for you to take care of your needs first so that you are better able to take care of others around you.
Set Realistic Expectations
This may not be the best holiday you’ve ever had, but with a positive outlook and the support of family and friends you can still make the most of what you have. Be realistic about what you will be able to spend and do during the holiday season and focus on a few special things. Remembering the good times you’ve had in the past can also help to boost your spirits.
Watching TV may help you relax, but the best coping skills are those that engage your mind, body, and spirit. Try writing or drawing in a journal, exercising, cooking, and practicing or taking up a new, creative hobby. These activities will best build your resilience by getting you to focus on positive things whether you are alone or with friends and family.
Performing acts of goodwill during the holidays can make a difference in someone else’s life and help you to feel better about yourself. Volunteer at the Lifeline or search online to find local animal shelters, parks, senior centers, soup kitchens or after-school programs that may need an extra set of hands.
Reach Out for Help
It’s normal to have some not-so-cheery feelings like sadness, confusion and guilt during the holiday. However, if you continue to feel overwhelmed with your emotions and they start to interfere with your daily routine then it’s time to reach out for help. If you need immediate emotional support or want to talk to a caring counselor about what you’re feeling, you can call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). any time, day or night.
- By Alicja Patela