Tips for Coping with the Holidays

The holidays bring excitement and joy for many people.  Celebrating the birth of our Lord gives us joy and peace and we look forward to new year ahead with hope.  However, the holidays can also bring much stress. This time of year, often brings many demands to our lives, including cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, and entertaining and family issues, to name a few.  And with COVID-19 present in our communities, additional stress, and worrying about our health and the health of our loved ones is a big concern.  It is quite likely that our holiday plans will look very different during the pandemic.  With all these stressors, many people are or will be feeling anxious, sad, or depressed. 

Since the yuletide season is often hectic, it is important to make time for the activities and people that matter the most.  It is important to say “no” to activities and events that steal our joy rather than give joy.  Be selective with the things you engage in.  Don’t over book your season.  With COVID-19, there may be fewer activities to engage in.  This may be a blessing to many people.  Be sure to make time for people you are closest to and set limits with others. Set realistic goals with your time and stick to healthy boundaries.

Acknowledge your feelings.  If you are not feeling particularly cheerful, it is important to admit this to yourself and a trusted other. Reach out to a friend or family member and share your feelings and seek support.  Grab a coffee, green tea or eggnog and share. 

Do not give up healthy habits during this busy time of year.  Be sure to eat healthy, get plenty of sleep and exercise.  The holidays are typically a time where we are overeating and/or eating a lot of sweets.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying good food, just don’t overdo it.  And get your 8 hours of sleep along with making the time to engage in healthy cardio activities.  Go for a mindful walk, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors. 

Family is so important to people during the holiday season.  Whether you are visiting, calling or video chatting, make time for family.  For many people family can bring pain.  Try to set aside differences, but also establish appropriate boundaries with family.  In some situations, it may be better not to spend time with certain family members. Try not to put pressure on yourself or let others pressure you. 

Do not overspend for Christmas.  Establish and stick to a budget. Remember the focal point of Christmas is the birth of Christ.  Celebrate God’s profound gift of His Son to the world.  And Jesus gave His life so that we can live in communion with God through grace.  Ponder this amazing gift as we celebrate the season and realize that our hope rests in this.