The media typically portray the holidays as the happiest time of the year, but rarely do our experiences match our memories or our expectations. Michele Morgart with Mercy Concern provides 10 ways you can put things into perspective and enjoy the season more.
The holiday season is here, and with this time comes a variety of emotions. We often feel excited, joyful and warm toward others as we prepare for and experience the holidays. It is not uncommon, however, to also experience some negative emotions like stress, anger, panic, frustration, disappointment, sadness, lonliness and resentment as the days get closer.
The media typically portray the holidays as the happiest time of the year, but rarely do our experiences match our memories or our expectations. With a better understanding of what the holidays mean for each of us while putting our feelings, needs, fears and expectations into perspective, we can take that first step toward making the season “brighter.”
Here are 10 suggestions that may help you achieve some perspective:
Be Realistic and Keep Your Expectations Reasonable
Accept the fact that the holidays will not change your life and the lives of those around you. They won’t make problems go away, and they won’t fix what ails you. Try to “tune out” the media’s idealistic version of Christmas. You don’t have to watch all the Christmas “specials,” and you don’t have to accept every invitation that comes along. Don’t let time pressures affect you. Remember, we are all individuals and have our own way of doing things. We shouldn’t have to totally rearrange our lives to accommodate other people’s expectations.
Plan Your Holidays to Avoid Stress
This involves planning your spending as well as your time. Look ahead. Give yourself permission to be “human” and accept that while doing your best, there is only so much time and money. Set spending limits, especially because credit cards make us forget that we may not be able to afford all those gifts.
Try to Keep a Positive Outlook
Look for good things to do – things that are satisfying and enjoyable to you. Avoid negative people who are critical of others and of situations and events that involve you.
If Loneliness Is a Concern, Get Involved
Let the spirit of the season work for you. Look for others who are in need. Spending some time helping others may be the single, surest way to “wash away the blues.”
Learn to Say NO
Don’t get caught up in trying to be everything to everybody. Say no to unreasonable demands on your time, money, body and emotions.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Sweets and alcohol cause the blood sugar to rise and drop quickly. This process can lead to feelings of depression. Many holidays have been spoiled by intemperate drinking. Be responsible. If you host a party, make sure your guests are able to drive home safely.
Give yourself plenty of time on a daily basis to have some fun. Look for ways to relax and have a good time. Read a book, go to a movie or spend time with a good friend.
Be More Forgiving and Tolerant
Many people around you may be feeling much the same as you do. Try to be understanding of their shortcomings, and remember that, within limits, your kindness may be just what they need.
Set Realistic and Practical Goals at New Year’s
If you make any New Year’s resolutions, be sure to set realistic and practical goals. Event with the best planning, there can be setbacks along the way. Take these into consideration.
Remember What Counts
Above all else, remember what really counts is inside each of us. Love, understanding and compassion may be our greatest human assets. Don’t forget to call on them when you feel overwhelmed by the demands of the season.