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How to Stress Less Even When the Holidays Are Hard

By: Andrienne Kennedy

This is the most wonderful time of the year! For many people the holidays signifies happiness, family and fun. But what about those who struggle when holiday time comes around? While the meaning of the holidays is beautiful, it can be a rough time for so many people including myself.  

When I was a child I loved Christmas, it was my favorite holiday. My mother went out of her way every year to make sure that I had the most fabulous celebration every year.  It was the best and I can vividly remember some of those Christmas mornings. The living room would look like a childrens toy store. There were more toys than I could play with. I can remember watching holiday programs, trimming the tree, and waiting up half the night for the “big day”.   

My Christmas experience in recent years was not as fabulous as it was in my younger years. You see, my mother passed away when I was 24, one week before Christmas. It was, as you can imagine one of the most tragic things that I had ever experienced. For years, I denied the fact that the holidays were hard and punished myself when I felt the urge to celebrate. I tormented myself. I learned that it does not have to be this way. It is totally okay to celebrate the holidays even if it has been been difficult for you in the past. So, what can you do to reduce the stress during the holiday season when the holidays are hard for you?

I created a list of 6 things that you can do to relieve your stress and make things a little more bearable when the holidays are hard for you.

  1. Admit that the Holidays Are Hard. Admitting that the Holidays are a hard time for you will alleviate some of the negative feelings that arise at this time of the year.

  2. Be Kind To Yourself. Don’t forget that you are a great person and that you deserve kindness.

  3. Surround Yourself With Loving and Caring People. Choose who will make the most loving and caring spaces for you.  Be with those people.

  4. Be Honest with Yourself and Others about Your Feelings. Your feelings are valid and your should discuss them and how you are feeling about the season with your loved ones and your “safe” people.

  5. Know that what you are feeling is okay and it WILL get better. It is okay to have the feelings that you are having, and it will get better.  

  6. Assemble a plan to help you when you begin to feel down. Organize a playlist or have a friend on speed dial so that you can give them a call when you are feeling down.

These are just some of the things that I have done to help ease the stress of dealing with a difficult holiday season. They can be truly difficult but we can make them manageable with the help of others.

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