Yes, it is that time of year again. Yes, the TV channels are showing holiday movies 24 – 7. Yes, the stores are filled with decorations. Yes, the preparations have begun.
In our house, the family is coming here. Yes, the Commonwealth is being invaded by those Yankees. They will be coming from across the U.S.
What does this mean? The stress has begun. Multiple conversations on who is coming, when, and how. Who is coming into which airport, and how will they get picked up? What will each family do with their dogs? How much time can each person get off of work? Oh, and let us not forget, multiple warnings to NOT talk politics. Dennis is determined to finish every project that exists around the house including ensuring the yard is perfect, every drywall crack is fixed, and projects that have been on the to-do list for years are completed. And, we haven’t even started talking about meals and everyone’s favorite, must-have holiday dish.
The result of perfectionism, co-dependency, and the desire for that perfect holiday reigning superior is a mounting level of stress. So how do we stop, regroup and avoid holiday stress and depression?
It's hard to stop and regroup, to prevent stress and depression, especially if this time of year has taken an emotional toll on you in the past. At CR we like acrostics; so here is the holiday acrostic … A REST
Acknowledge your feelings. Have you had someone close to you recently died, or you can't be with loved ones? Then, accept that feelings of sadness and grief are normal. Allow yourself time to cry, don’t neglect your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy, even if it is the holiday season.
Realistic view of the holiday’s events. Your holidays don't have to be Rockwell picture-perfect or just like they were in the past. As families grow and change, traditions must change as well. While you can hold to some traditions, be open to creating new ones with family and friends. For example, if your family can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together. This is a great time to use social media to share pictures or videos.
Expectations should be reasonable and rational. Your goal is to accept family and friends as they are and not ask them to live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
Stick to your guns. Set a budget and decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness. Learn to say no and stay with your decision. Saying yes, when you want to say no, can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Take a breather. Make time for God and yourself. Prayer is a great stress reliever. Learn to recognize your triggers. Your triggers could include financial pressures or personal demands; learn your triggers so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. Reach out when you feel lonely or isolated. There are lots of events at church that offer support and companionship.
Come to the CR meetings on Tuesday night at 6:45 (Memorial UMC, Appomattox). It is where we all take off our masks and together face our hurts, hang-ups and bad habits. Most of all remember to …
Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king! 1 Peter 2:17