10 Ways to Survive the Holidays

In recent years, I have yet to visit with someone that doesn’t experience an element of stress,
anxiety or depression during the holiday season.  At the very least, an individual and those
negative emotions seem to bump elbows. At most, it seems to overwhelm and consume,
and an individual finds themself trying to survive.  If Jesus is truly the reason for the season,
how can we keep our peace? Here are some tips to help make emotions easier during the
holiday season.

  1. Stick to a routine as much as possible
  2. Get enough sleep, and make it a priority
  3. Get exercise, even if it is a short walk
  4. Make a To-Do List. Keep things simple
  5. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  6. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  7. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  8. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or call me here at Hope Place Counseling.  I would love to walk with you through this season!

Authored by: Rachel Nauss, LCSW
Rachel is passionate about all aspects of health and wellness and believes in a holistic approach when considering mental health. Rachel obtained a Masters in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2006 and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.


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