For many of us, the holiday season is a time that is anticipated with both joy and anxiety. Sure, we love the freedom, the family time, and we cherish the memories of holidays gone by; but along with them, we add the stresses of preparation, expectations and the fear of let-downs, or family squabbles that we have experienced in the past. In a real sense, many of us are looking straight into the face of the holi-daze, not the holidays.
Life is stressful enough this year. Throw the holidays into the mix, and you could end up with fatigue, bouts of anxiety, or difficulty thinking clearly. Be alert to the ways you react to holiday gatherings and preparations. This is one time of the year when it’s especially important to take care of yourself.
With this in mind, here are some tips that can help restore some sanity to your family, and hopefully make for an enjoyable, meaningful holiday season.
1. Set manageable expectations.
Spend some time now setting realistic and manageable expectations for your holiday season. So, be realistic and upfront about what your family can do. Make a list of what is possible and prioritize your most important events and activities for you and your family. Then, pace yourself. Organize your time. Keep in mind that it’s the holiday “season” (not “day”) and spread out your activities to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.
2. Remember the holiday season does not eliminate sadness or loneliness.
Old problems and difficulties continue, and new ones can arise during the holiday season. And for some, the holiday season evokes painful memories from recent events or the loss of loved ones. Give room for yourself and your family to experience and express these feelings. But try not to let them become a consuming focus. Make an effort to work through present challenges and conflicts.
3. Acknowledge the past but look toward to the future.
Life brings changes. Each season of life is different. Determine to enjoy this holiday season for what it is. Acknowledging the past, whether it was good or bad, is appropriate. But, if you find that this year has been a rough one and you don’t anticipate having the best holiday season ever, try not to set yourself up for disappointment by comparing today with the “good old days.” Take advantage of the joys the present holiday season has to offer.
Tomorrow in sha Allah we will continue with a few more tips!