According to the TV ads, sitcoms, and cartoons, the holidays are a time for good cheer and happiness. But you know the realities of dealing with holiday stress — they’re often much less jolly than the media would have us believe.
There are a number of things that come with the holidays that can create conflict in your life, and make coping with holiday stress difficult. Many times, family conflict arises during the holidays, as you and your family try to coordinate parties, get-togethers, and gift giving.
Not only that, but you have to deal with heavy traffic, long lines at the store, and the dark, gloomy weather that comes along with the holiday season.
And not only that, but for many of us, the holidays remind us of loved ones that we’ve lost and the feelings of loneliness that can come with being away from family and friends.
The holidays are also a time of changing family dynamics — the effects of children leaving the house, parents moving in, and divorce or separation can reach their peak during the holidays.
Your Holidays Can Be Happy Once Again
There are several techniques for dealing with holiday stress that can help you cope with all of these things, so you can have an enjoyable and stress-free holiday season.
One of the most important techniques for dealing with holiday stress is to practice love and understanding with your family and friends.
Keep in mind that the people around you are experiencing stress too, and this can cause them to act out in ways that they ordinarily wouldn’t.
Before you comment on the actions of a difficult family member, stop and count to 10, and then decide if your comment is really worth the resulting conflict. You will often realize that keeping observations (no matter how true they are) to yourself will help avoid much of the conflict that the holidays bring.
Practicing love and understanding can help you when you’re sitting in traffic or standing in line at the mall, too. Every person around you is coping with holiday stress too, so taking a little extra time to be kind will help everyone’s holiday activities go a lot smoother. You will probably find that others around you will be willing to show you a little extra kindness too, out of appreciation for your understanding and patience.
One way of coping with holiday stress if you have lost a loved one, or if you are away from your family and friends, is to perform acts of charity. Donate your time and energy at the local food bank or other agencies that help the most vulnerable in your communities.
Taking the time out to share your holidays with the less fortunate will help take your mind off your loneliness, and help you build a support network to get you through the most difficult periods of the holiday season.