This time of year can be tricky. It’s been labeled “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” but for a lot of people that doesn’t seem to be the case. Many of my clients note increased stress and depression this time of year. Here are a few things you can do to help keep joy in the season.
Lower Your Expectations
So many of us get caught up in throwing the perfect get together, or finding the perfect present, or cooking the perfect meal that we’re inadvertently putting intense pressure on ourselves. That pressure builds, and what’s supposed to bring happiness, ends up being an exercise in stress. Things don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK that they are decent or good enough. The pursuit of perfection will make you overlook the real purpose of what you’re intention is-nurturing relationships and enjoying your loved ones. Instead of focusing on perfection, focus on the connection with others, and if the holiday meal is overcooked, oh well.
Be in the Present
Because this time of year demands so much from us, we tend to get caught up in everything we have to do, and life becomes a never-ending checklist. Before we know it, the season is over, and we feel like we missed it. As much as possible, try to be in the present moment and focus on what’s going on in front of you. Yep, I’m talking about mindfulness. If you need a quick refresher on mindfulness or a brief introduction, read the blog from June 2019 titled “What’s Mindfulness.” This skill is particularly helpful during this busy season. It will keep you enjoying the present moment instead of being subjected to all the stressors floating around in your head.
Reconnect with what the Season Means to You
This time of year means different things to different people. For some, it’s about spending time with loved ones and deepening relationships. For others, it’s an especially spiritual or religious time that requires additional devotion. Whatever the reason, try to clarify what this season means to you and live those values. When we have meaning attached to things, we tend to feel more fulfilled. Instead of a season of stress and aggravation, focusing on purpose can bring a sense of satisfaction and contentment.
If you are struggling with holiday stress and want to work through it in counseling, I’d love to chat with you. Please give our office a call, and we can discuss further.