Information gathered and prepared by A. Balind MSW, RSW
Clinical Social Worker, Portage Medical Family Health Team
Emotional Wellness Throughout the Holiday Season
There is so much to do at this time of year, that it’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed by it and let anger, frustration, and stress begin to build. This season looking very different does not help. Making use of and practicing coping skills is essential at this time of year. Here are a few suggestions that you may wish to try in the coming days and weeks in order to have a meaningful, joyous, and manageable holiday season.
1. Learn to say “No” to others and yourself
- Prepare a budget for your holiday spending and do not go over it. You don’t have to overspend on gifts, trying to buy the perfect one for each person. Try a card with a special message or something homemade.
- We often feel a lot of pressure to spend the holidays loved ones but, making sure everyone is healthy and safe. When it is time to attend gatherings and parties, set a definite number to attend and be sure to maintain social distancing and wear a mask when possible. Send out sincere apologies for any events that will have to be missed.
- Listen and give empathy to each family/friend you speak to about their needs and concerns about the holidays. Everyone is in a different place right now and that is okay. Try and find solutions that everyone is comfortable with and validate how someone is feeling before you give suggestions or solutions.
- Forget traditions and take a serious look at the holiday practices that you may struggle to maintain. Decide which are not worth the mental, emotional, and physical effort they require. Perhaps begin new and more manageable traditions that surround the most important things and people in your life.
2. Learn to say “Yes”- Do not hesitate to accept help
- Lean on others for support. A network of close friends and family can help you keep things in perspective. Accept help as it is offered and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- One good way to put things into perspective is to volunteer some of you time and energy into a worthy cause. It takes the focus off of you and any holiday anxieties. You can benefit from knowing you are making a difference and doing something that matters.
3. Assign one hour for yourself
- Treat yourself to something special. It does not have to be anything that cost a great deal of money, but it should be something that includes relaxation and enjoyment. Schedule this time in your calendar and stick to it. Your mind and body will thank you.
4. Think of different ways to safely spend time with family and friends
- Connect over social media (Facebook, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) and play games, decorate a tree or have an ugly sweater party.
- Send/safely deliver packages to family/friends with cookies to decorate or a craft to make. This can also be done over a video chat together!
5. Talk with family and friends about delaying the holidays
- It may not be traditional but, making the decision to delay get together and visits until it is safe to do so. It may be exciting and fun to have a summer Christmas! Warm weather is not something we get at Christmas in Canada!
- Prepare family members of changes to traditions early. Give everyone time to understand their feelings and plan their holidays. This is very important for children so they can realize that it is not their fault that the holidays will be different this year and that they will still be fun!