Destressing Around the Holidays -by Jamie Edwards, LCSW

The holidays can be a great time to relax, celebrate, and catch up on time with family and friends.  However, for some of us it can create an amount of stress that may lead to anxiety and depression.  This can be especially challenging when everyone around us seems extra joyful, grateful, and having all kinds of fun, while we are just not there.  The holidays may remind us of someone that is no longer in our lives, time with family may exhaust us, or the weather may lower our mood.

Here are some ways to de-stress and enjoy the holidays:

  1. Be realistic and set limits – There is a tendency to want to do everything and more when it comes to the holidays. Make the perfect meal, get the right presents, or have everything done by a certain time.  This is not very realistic and can lead to disappointment.  Make a list of what you can manage, and maybe even scratch a few items off after that.
  2. Continue self-care – Around the holidays we tend to take care of ourselves less, both physically and emotionally. Try to combat that by balancing your eating habits, exercising, and taking time just for yourself when you need it.  And certainly whatever you routinely do to take care of yourself, keep it up.
  3. Practice gratitude – Instead of spending time focusing on what’s wrong, what you don’t have, or what you wish was different, focus on the great things you do have in your life. It can be anything from family and friends to the trees that you see outside your window.
  4. Seek support – No one can do it all on their own, so ask for help when you need it. Whoever you call on, they will also feel good knowing that they can support you.  Holidays are a common time for people to seek counseling or therapy; know that Gurnee Counseling Center therapists are skilled in providing support around the holidays.
  5. Take a break – Whatever you are doing will take longer if you are under stress, so there is always time for a short break to decompress.
  6. Give back – Give away that coat in the back of your closet that you never wear, or volunteer to cook/serve a meal to those who need it. Giving back will not only make you feel good but will give you perspective on your life.

If you find yourself needing a little extra help to de-stress around this time of  year, contact our staff at Gurnee Counseling Center by calling (847) 336-5621.