REMEMBER to Relax during the holidays!!
The holidays are that time of the year when people feel even more stressed than they usually do. Shopping, limited finances, gift demands, family interactions, loneliness and several other factors all go into making this time of year unique. So what are some of the things you should remember to help decrease your holiday stress?
Remember what the holidays are truly about: The holidays are a time for authentic communities to come together and a time to remember values and the fact that you are not alone. Be sure not to isolate. Being depressed and isolating does not help.
Exercise: Mental stress can be relieved by physical exercise. Go for a brisk walk after you bundle up (as long as there is no ice out there!)
Listen to music that you love. Listen to holiday music if that’s what you like. If you’re tired of holiday music, listen to some of your favorite energizing music.
Ask for help. If you’re the appointed gift buyer but simply can’t get all your chores done this year, ask for help. You don’t have to be ashamed to need help.
eXtricate yourself from unnecessary socializing and spending. While the holidays are about community, one-too-many holiday parties can be very tiring. Getting one-too-many gifts and blowing your budget can stress you out. Decide ahead of time which parties and what gifts you can realistically attend and afford as well as which you simply can’t attend or have the money for. And remember, over-commitment and over-spending is not a sign of love.
These are five of the ways in which you can gear up for the holidays being just a little less stressful. Taking the time to institute at least one of these tips may make just the difference that you need
Some Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays
- Surround yourself with people who love and support you.Share your plans with family and friends. Memories can sometimes be a source of comfort to the bereaved. Share your memories with others of holidays spent with your loved one.
- Try to avoid “canceling” the holiday despite the temptation.It is OK to avoid some circumstances that you don’t feel ready to handle, but don’t isolate yourself. Allow yourself some time for solitude, remembering and grieving, but balance it with planned activities with others.
- Allow yourself to feel joy, sadness, and anger – allow yourself to grieve.It is important to recognize that every family member has his/her own unique grief experience and may have different needs related to celebrating the holidays. Experiencing joy and laughter does not mean you have forgotten your loved one.
- Draw comfort from doing for others.Consider giving a donation or gift in memory of you loved one. Invite a guest who might otherwise be alone for the holidays.
- Take care of yourself. Avoid using alcohol to self-medicate your mood. Try to avoid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Physical exercise is often an antidote for depression.
- Create a new tradition or ritual that accommodates your current situation. Some people find comfort in the old traditions. Others find them unbearably painful. Discuss with your family the activities you want to include or exclude this year. Some examples of new rituals and traditions include:
- Create a memory box. You could fill it with photos of your loved one or written memory notes from family members and friends
- Light a candle in honor of your absent loved one
- Put a bouquet of flowers on your holiday table in memory of your loved one.
- Visit the cemetery and decorate the memorial site with holiday decorations.
- Have a moment of silence during a holiday toast to honor your loved one.
- Place a commemorative ornament on the Christmas tree.
- Play your loved one’s favorite music or favorite game.
The most important thing to remember is there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holiday season after the death of a loved one, and that the best way to cope with that first holiday season is to plan ahead, get support from others and take it easy.
This Holiday season, we encourage you to stay healthy, so that you can best enjoy these special times with your family. Whittier Street Health Center has nurse-run flu clinics set up with you in mind. You are free to walk in from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM on weekdays, and from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturdays. If you are aged 50 or older, please talk to your doctor or one of our nurses about getting the pneumonia vaccine. Protect yourself, protect your family and friends! A healthier you is the best gift you can give your loved ones. Blessings.