If you are struggling to find excitement and joy during this holiday season; you are not alone. Many people have suffered job loss, home foreclosure and bankruptcy which has created fear, uncertainty and ultimately, illness.
Stress is at an all time high. For others not as intensely affected; job concerns still remain high, healthcare has everyone on edge and budgeting for the necessities can be daunting.
And now.........the holidays!!
If you’re coping strategies were already wearing thin, now you are in the midst of dealing with the holidays......like them or not.
For those of you who are struggling this year there are things that you can do to make yourself feel better.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Volunteer - there are so many organizations that need people to deliver meals to home bound people, stock food banks, serve meals to the homeless. Read books to children in hospitals or seniors in nursing homes.
2. Donate - clean out your closets, kitchen and garage and donate to charities. If you haven’t worn it or used it this past year, you probably won’t. Someone will feel blessed.
3. Shop with Frugal Flare - make thrift and consignment shops adventurous. Amazing bargains “just like new” make great gifts for family and friends. Add a coupon to already reduced sale prices.
4. Attend the work party - Isolating is not good if you are overwhelmed with negative emotions. Don’t sit by yourself on the sofa - you will only make the sadness greater. There is too much opportunity to self medicate with your favorite substance or activity.
5. Call a Friend - how long has it been since you had dinner with someone who makes you laugh? Friendship is wonderful medicine anytime of the year.
6. The holidays do pass - Remember the holiday season will pass and a new year will emerge.
If this time of year is extremely difficult, your mantra, “This too shall pass,” might be helpful. For those of you who enjoy the holidays do not feel guilty or unworthy of your joy. Celebrate and share your love with others.
Most important to remember, you are not alone, whether you enjoy the holiday season or dread this time of year. “You are where you are.”
Be honest with yourself but let your mind be open to possibilities that could make you smile and feel at peace.
Vicki L. Mayfield, M.Ed., RN, LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Nurse. She has a part time private practice and works part time at St. Anthony's Behavioral Medicine Department.