Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress and Depression

By From the Heart | Health & Wellness with Faith Community Nurses

Nov 28

The holidays are right around the corner. This can be time that people may reflect on their attitude of gratitude, however, for some it maybe  stressful and/or depressing. Here are some tips/ideas for making the holiday season enjoyable and less stressful, along with a poem for an attitude of gratitude.

Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress & Depression

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

Acknowledge your feelings- If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.

Reach out– If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

Be realistic– The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

Set aside differences- Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

Stick to a budget- Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.  Try these alternatives:

• Donate to a charity in someone’s name.

• Give homemade gifts.

• Start a family gift exchange.

Plan ahead- Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

Learn to say no-Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

Don’t abandon healthy habits-Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.  Try these suggestions:

• Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.

• Get plenty of sleep.

• Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

Take a breather- Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.  Some options may include:

• Taking a walk at night and stargazing.

• Listening to soothing music.

• Getting a massage.

• Reading a book.

Seek professional help if you need it– Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Published by the Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle: Stress Management September 16, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude- On Thanksgiving…

May we all give thanks for those blessings that we rarely take the time to recognize:

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness…you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experience the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pages of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married…you are very rare, even in the USA.

If you hold your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful…you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Angie Moscho is a Faith Community Nurse at Rich Spring Prairie Catholic Community since January 2019 and a Stroke Nurse at the St. Cloud Hospital for 19 years. Angie has been married to her husband, Nathan, for 16 years and together have 4 very active boys: Austin-15, Evan-13, Kameron-11 and Mason -9
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

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