For most people, the holiday period begins with anticipation and excitement. Unfortunately for some, those happy feelings dissolve into stress, frustration and/or the blues. People who have experienced the recent death of a loved one or are going through a divorce or separation often experience a sense of loss during this holiday.
Many of us want the holidays to go perfectly and when our visions of perfection are not met, we are disappointed. The following are some ways in which people can prepare for or counteract holiday stress and/or holiday blues. Dr. Deborah O Day, a well-known forensic and clinical psychologist in Orlando, Florida suggests:
- Plan ahead. Identify potential times for the blues and get support of family and friends;
- Take time for yourself doing something that refreshes or soothes you (massage, card game with your buddies, etc.);
- Plan to “get away” – whether brief or extended; a new atmosphere or locale may help you get perspective;
- Don’t schedule too much; less can be more;
- Try not to recreate or create the best or the perfect experience;
- Don’t shop till you drop. This only depletes your physical and financial resources and may set you up for becoming depressed;
- Consider catalog shopping instead of mall shopping. Shopping at home could be a time and stress saver;
- Practice “being” rather than “doing”; enjoy time by yourself or with others;
- Use prepared snacks or foods for expected or unexpected guests instead of stressing about impressing your company; and
- Remember we all have different feelings and reactions to the holidays. Live up to your own expectations – not to the expectations of others.