As almost every American knows, the holidays represent the busiest travel season of the year, but what many people don’t realize is that all the travel, food, friends, and family, also add up to the most stressful time of the year. Through November and December, depression and anxiety are reported at higher rates than at any other time. Additionally, people are more likely to drink to excess and use illicit drugs during the holidays. All of this unpleasant information confirms what many have suspected- that what should be a joyous and celebratory season is often fraught with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and a generalized sense of dysphoria.
With all these potential pitfalls, how can you skip the drama and recapture a sense of wonder and gratitude? The Healing Waterfall has a few tips on how to improve your holiday outlook, reduce stress, and learn to enjoy the season again.
Everyone has something to be thankful for. Take a moment to jot down all the things you love about your life and are happy to have in it. Don’t forget to include your own resiliency and sense of hope. If you’re on your own for the holidays, use this time to help those less fortunate. Visiting to a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or nursing home will quickly remind you of how fortunate you are.
Start your day with a sense of gratitude using Morning Meditations.
If you’ve been holding a grudge for any reason, let it go. Anger only hurts you and does nothing to rectify injustice. Remember, though, that the people you’re forgiving might not be ready to do the same. So work to fix the relationship, but limit your expectations. You can’t force others to forgive and forget, but letting go of anger frees you to be kind and loving to yourself and everyone else.
While most of the suggestions here are for cultivating the right mindset for the holidays, this tip is completely practical. Being prepared always helps to reduce stress. Whether you’re traveling or hosting, there’s plenty of prep work that can be done ahead of time. If you’re away from home, make the travel time more fun and relaxing by stocking up on toys, books, and music to keep everyone entertained. Load favorite movies on your phone or tablet and use multiple headphones so you can watch as a family while waiting for your flights. If you’re driving, download soothing music and guided imagery to encourage tranquility as you make your way over the river and through the woods.
Try Car Peace to inspire pleasant travels.
If you’re hosting this year, prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Cook and freeze meals before visitors arrive and try to arrange guest areas to allow everyone as much personal space as possible. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Most houseguests are happy to pitch in and help with dishes or meals.
Although it’s listed last, relaxing might be the most important tip for managing stress through the holidays. It’s hard to be loving and hospitable when you’re feeling tired, stressed, and anxious, so be sure to make time for yourself throughout the holiday rush. Get to bed at a reasonable hour and give yourself a few minutes of quiet each day to re-connect with yourself and your higher power. Remember that no holiday will ever be “perfect.” Perfect doesn’t exist in this world. What people want most from their holiday is not a great gift or a five-star meal, but a sense of love. The love and hospitality you show others will be what makes a holiday wonderful.
We hope these tips can help you restore joy, love, and wonder to your holiday celebrations. At the Healing Waterfall we remain thankful for you, our customers and followers. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.