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10 Strategies for Coping with the Holiday Season

It’s Time for the Holidays- Yippee or Yikes?

Whether you love it or hate it, or a bit of both, we are entering into the 2022 holiday

season. Starting in October, much of the world begins to celebrate spiritual, cultural or

religious events in a continuous stream until after the New Year. A short list is Diwali,

Halloween (in multiple forms), Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas,

Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Day and beyond for some. For many people, in person

gatherings will be happening after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.

While this time of year can bring a great deal of joy, the stress and pressure of the

holiday season is well known. The relationship between stress, illness and the holiday

season is documented in popular magazines and professional journals. In 1967, after

researching medical records of 5000 people, Christmas (now listed as The Holidays)

was placed on the list of the top 40 events that cause the most life stress (Holmes and

Rahe Stress Scale).

Here are a few of the top things that people say as to why the holidays can cause so

much anxiety.

1. Time Pressure “I can’t get it all done.” If you already have a packed schedule

adding costume making (the perfect costume), shopping, travel, fixing

Thanksgiving dinner, present shopping and all the other details becomes the

perfect storm for feeling overwhelmed.

2. Spending “I don’t have enough money.” It’s not just the cost of items, its figuring

out who to buy or not buy for. It is easy to overspend, especially since the

commercialism pressure of most holidays has already begun.

3. Families “Either too much or not enough.” Holidays often put us together with

people we might not like very much, disagree with politically, or who trigger us for

some other reason. The opposite can also be true. We can be at odds with family

members and not be invited to a family gathering.

4. Friends (The same as above). Sometimes it’s too much getting together or not

getting invited anywhere.

5. Over eating and/or drinking “Just one more”. From Halloween on, sugar and fat

type foods are everywhere and, very frequently, in the work place. Drinking

alcohol or using other recreational substances is prevalent. If these are triggers

for you, it can be very hard to manage.

6. Not enough good sleep “I’m tired.” Due to time pressures, drinking, eating,

shopping, parties or being online, our sleep suffers during this time.

7. Expectations “It all has to be perfect.” We all have our own fantasies about how

the holidays should be or look. The pressure to be happy and to have the

“perfect” dress, meal, present, party etc. is enormous. Social media highlights

how much fun everyone else is having!

8. No Exercise “I don’t have the time.” If you are a regular or even semi-regular

exerciser, time can impact your regiment. That’s why so many New Year’s

resolutions focus on getting “back on the diet “or “back to the gym”.

9. A significant loss can make it all worse “I’m broken hearted.” Any kind of loss

which changes the normal pattern of life such as death of someone close,

divorce, romantic break up, pet loss, job loss, move, poor health or any other

similar event can seriously compound the stress of the holiday season.

10. Post Pandemic “To mask or not to mask” This year the pressure will be on to be

out and about to celebrate with friends and family. While Covid, in its various

forms, is still lurking about, there will be tension and worries about being in close

quarters indoors or an expectation to travel by airplane to join family or friends.

The unpredictability, but hope and expectation that the pandemic is over, could

increase stress during an already pressurized time of year.

Does any of this sound familiar? What to figure out how to pre-plan to manage and do

well this year? Do something for your mental health.

Come to a free class at Vervain to discover solutions to these and other stressors that

come up during the looming holiday season. This class will be a fun, interactive

discussion about the good and the challenges of the holidays. The solutions on how to

make the most of this season will be different for each person attending. The class will

be taught in a coaching style enabling you to create your own pathway to having a

manageable, fun holiday season. Bring paper, pen/pencil and a friend. You’ll want to

write some things down and you and a friend can act as “accountability buddies”

through the holidays to make it the best season yet. Friend can’t come. No worries, You

can still create your plan and recruit later.

Free Class - Oct 19, 530-630pm

With Jo-Ellen Watson of Gray Into Gold Coaching

Stress during the holidays does not have to be inevitable. Come to this free class on how to manage and even joyfully experience the upcoming holidays!

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