MYTH OF THE HOLIDAYS — Everyone else has the perfect, warm, loving family with whom they share great cheerfulness. TRUTH — some families have ideal holidays but most people have disappointing ones at best — dreadful for many. For more pleasant ones that minimize disappointment you might want to try the following suggestions.
10 Ways to Help You Experience a Minimum of Stress and Sadness this Holiday Season
- Plan ahead—many things will DEFINITELY go wrong so plan your timing to include
- Be willing to give up perfectionism about gifts, food served, etc., if necessary.
- Tell yourself (out loud, in writing or in your head) that if things don’t go well it doesn’t make you a bad, stupid or (substitute your “put down” word of choice) person.
- Tell yourself #3 over and over and talk to others about it. You’ll find you’re not alone in generalizing this way which can miraculously make those feelings diminish!
- Employ relaxation techniques REGULARLY — deep breathing, stretch-relax muscle work, relaxation CDs, apps on your phone, etc. And, try hard not to neglect sleep and good nutrition.
- Remember that you cannot MAKE another person happy, grateful, polite (insert your own word here). If, in the past someone was not as you would have wished this year most likely will not be different! Spend the time and effort for positive-type people!
- Be with people you enjoy rather than feeling obliged to be with people who drag you down.
YOU CAN INVENT YOUR OWN HOLIDAYS; MAKE YOUR OWN RULES. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER WHAT OTHERS THINK OR SAY ABOUT HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME (OR MONEY)!
- GIVE YOURSELF A HOLIDAY GIFT OF SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN WANTING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. It doesn’t have to be expensive (probably shouldn’t be if you can’t afford it) but should be something you’ve been putting off or just not allowing yourself.
- Talk to someone you know who’s really listening about any sadness and/or stress- producing experiences that come to mind. You’d be surprised how support from family or friends can help you reduce bad feelings.
- If talking to family or friends hasn’t helped in the past try seeking 2 or 3 sessions with a mental health professional. Sometimes this can, in a very short time, help a person have a happier, more peaceful holiday season! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that only “crazy” people seek this sort of help. Maybe it’s “crazy” to accept the discomfort some people endure when it’s possible to feel better! Is this the gift you should be giving yourself???
We’re here to help if you or someone you know wants to call. Terry Hefter Associates, LLC – 1731 N. Marcey – Chicago (Near North and Clybourn) – 312-280-1166.