Depression and Anxiety During the Holidays

Seven Steps to Simplicity

October 2008

‘Tis the season to be jolly? In a perfect world, it should be – yet the holiday season for most isn’t a holiday at all. Nearly one in ten people enter the season with dread. Anxiety and depression increase during this hectic and emotion-laden time. Family budgets typically double as we overspend, adding to financial worries. We eat too much, sleep too little and sacrifice our well-being to make it through our long “to-do” lists.

The key to a happy holiday is to simplify and plan. Failing to plan is planning fail. There are seven steps to simplicity that can help lighten the load and bring back the spirit of the season.

1. Don’t over commit. Set limits for yourself. Consider attending only one or two parties, or one show or special event. Host just one or two meals during the season – don’t volunteer to host all social gatherings.

2. Do what brings you joy. What brings you the most joy during the holidays? Put it in writing and set goals to accomplish those activities. Often we do the things we ‘should’ do to meet others expectations. In my case, I enjoy baking and listening to holiday music. These activities should take priority over endless office and neighborhood parties and events.

3. Set a budget for spending and make a gift-giving list. Don’t spend more than you can afford. Make a list and stick to it. Avoid impulse buying and late shopping.

4. Make memories. Try making a memory with someone you care about instead of buying them a gift they really want but is not in your budget. Invite someone to lunch, a movie or a holiday show. Spend an afternoon making cookies and candies. Most of us, even children, remember the time and event verses the gift on the wish list.

5. Plan activities outside of the holiday season. Why cram everything into a limited six-week period? Teachers can be appreciated anytime during the year. Neighbors may like to get together after the holiday season when the atmosphere is more relaxed. How about an office party in the fall or late winter?

6. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy and exercise. Try not to sacrifice needed sleep and, as often as you can, eat healthy. Exercise regularly – walking is ideal. It’s easy and you can do it anywhere. Stress can change our bodies and help break down our immune systems, so take good care of yourself.

7. Most importantly allow spiritual reflection time. By renewing your mind and soul you will be focused and relaxed.

pdf Download this Article