In the U.S., the month of November launches the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the New Year. This time of year can be exciting and fun, filled with the joy of celebrating our Savior, Jesus Christ, and reuniting with family and friends. However, it also presents the stress and pressure of event planning, attending a multitude of programs, travelling near and far, busting our budgets, and missing loved ones who are no longer with us. Although the holidays are intended to bring joy and laughter, they can actually increase the risk of anxiety and depression. In addition, the holidays create opportunities for impulse buying, that can cause long-term damage to a person's financial stability. Here are a few tips to survive the holidays.
1. No is okay - Depression increases during the holidays due to an increase in demands (perceived as stressful), family issues, and being unable to manage expectations. When you need to say no, it's okay
2. Stick to a budget - Be disciplined in what you can afford. Marketing techniques such as "Cyber Monday" or "only 2 left in Amazon", and pop-ups on your computer are designed to get you to buy first and think later. Step away and come back to it only if you really need it and can afford it.
3. Celebrate Memories and the New Normal - Grief can put a damper in any holiday season. It is a normal response to loss. Design a time to honor the past, but take time to celebrate the new. Use the season of Advent as an example of expectation of greater things to come.
4. Plan Self-Care - Be intentional about a Sabbath. Plan time to rest and rejuvenate. Plan days of physical activity, exercise, and healthy eating to offset the binge eating frenzies.
5. Schedule your physicals and mentals - As you plan the 2020 calendar, plan your doctor's visits, including a wellness check with a therapist. You won't regret it.
6. Enjoy the moment - Although you are planning ahead, don't forget to embrace those moments that warm your soul. Be careful not to miss the blessing that comes in the simple things.
7. Keep Christ in Christmas - Always remind yourself that Jesus is the reason for the season. Spend quiet time, meditate and pray as you read Luke and Matthew's gospels. Always refocus on the true meaning of Christmas.
Merry Christmas and a Glorious 2020! SED Clergy Care Team