This blog post was written by Lea Humphrey, LPC, SA-IT, a Behavioral Health Therapist at the Beloit Area Community Health Center.
The Stress of Overextending Emotionally & Financially
Breathe. Breathe and then breathe again. Not those short in and out hyperventilating breathes. Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four and breath out through your mouth for a count of six.
Focus on the breath and what is important. What do you hold important? Is it family, love, emotional stability, financial stability?
There is an old song by Ricky Nelson with the line in it “ya can’t please everyone”. This is a truth. So, breathe and recognize that you are doing what you can with what you have.
Tips to help prevent stress, anxiety, and mild depression
The following tips can help prevent stress, anxiety, and mild depression associated with the holiday season:
- Make realistic expectations for the holiday season.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Pace yourself. Do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
- Make a list and prioritize the important activities. This can help make holiday tasks more manageable.
- Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
- Do not put all your energy into just one day (for example, Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Eve). The holiday cheer can be spread from one holiday event to the next.
- Live “in the moment” and enjoy the present.
- Look to the future with optimism.
- Do not set yourself up for disappointment and sadness by comparing today with the “good old days” of the past.
- If you are lonely, try volunteering some of your time to help others.
- Find holiday activities that are free, such as looking at holiday decorations, going window shopping without buying, and watching the winter weather, whether it’s a snowflake or a raindrop.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol since excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
- Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
- Spend time with supportive and caring people.
- Reach out and make new friends.
- Make time to contact a long-lost friend or relative and spread some holiday cheer.
- Make time for yourself!
- Let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks.
- Keep track of your holiday spending. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive after the holidays are over. Extra bills with little budget to pay them can lead to further stress and depression.
Holiday Bill of Rights
You have the right to:
- Take care of yourself.
- Feel mixed up emotions around the holidays.
- Spend time alone thinking, reflecting, and relaxing.
- Say “no” to party invitations.
- Ask for help and support from family, friends, and community service agencies
- Say “no” to alcohol, drugs…and seconds on dessert.
- NOT to ride with a drunk driver, to take their keys away and to call a taxi for them.
- Give gifts that are within your holiday budget or go a step further and plan in advance with a monthly budget template.
- Smile at angry salespeople and/or rude people.
- Enjoy your holiday the way you want.
Source: Mental Health America; Oneida Health Promotions: Holiday Survival Kit