It can be the most wonderful time of the year. The holiday seasons can be so heartwarming be they Christmas or Thanksgiving or even a birthday. Christmas seems to be the most emotional of all of them and it is everywhere you look so it can be hard to ignore it. It can also be a constant reminder of all the ‘stuff’ you are struggling with in your life. Family conflict and stresses are magnified at this time of year. Conversely Being away from family and loved ones can be very tough on a person, especially when you have to witness others having a good time with theirs. Struggling to pay bills is made even more frustrating when you can’t be part of celebrations because you can’t afford the tickets or you feel embarrassed because you can’t afford presents this year. Loneliness, despair and grief are made even more difficult to manage at these times. These added stresses to an already overloaded plate can be a tipping point for many people.
What can we do?
If you are struggling this year think of alternative ways to take in the Christmas Spirit. You may not be able to go see the nutcracker on stage but perhaps you can arrange a little get together to watch the Christmas Specials on TV. Ask friends to bring one dish each and it costs no one much at all and creates a wonderfully fun memory. Perhaps you can’t afford a store-bought gift but I bet your sister could use a free night or two of babysitting coupons. Homemade cookies and treats can be a welcome gift, especially for those who like to have at home gatherings. Perhaps you can scrapbook a college of pictures for someone.
Extend yourself to others, don’t sit around waiting. I think it is the rare case where strangers come knocking on your door asking to be your friend.
If you feel very low do ask for help. There are services available to help you figure out how to manage and please know that you are worth it. Talk to your doctor or find a councillor.
Visit a shelter (people or animal) and ask how you can help out. You will not only be making your world better, but others as well. And don’t forget this is a great way to meet new people. You’d be amazed at whom you might meet volunteering!
The point is to try to focus on what you can do. Giving someone a break, help or assistance is a gift from the heart that will be remembered.
What do you suggest or what have you done to lift yourself up during a tough holiday season?