by Weldon Tisdale, Trinity Woods Chaplain
Philippians 4: 6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…” (NLT)
This scripture is direction given from the Apostle Paul for dealing with stressful times and certainly, the holiday season often brings unwelcome guests like, stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. At times, holidays will bring back memories of loved ones passed on often adding an additional level of
coping. But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.
TIPS TO PREVENT HOLIDAY STRESS AND DEPRESSION:
Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently passed or you can’t be with a loved one, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s okay to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious events or other social activities. They can off er support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals change. Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones.
Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all 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. Off er them “grace” because chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
So, take control of the holidays. Do not allow them to become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive
thinking, you can fi nd peace and joy during the holidays. And remember, “Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything.”
Adapted from MayoClinic.org article.