The Most Joyous Time of the Year
Unison’s free, confidential counselling hotline is available to help with problems big and small this holiday season.
Visit unisonfund.ca to learn more.
Although December can be full of cheerful connections with family and friends, it can also be a month that brings a great deal of stress and frustration. The to-do list gets long and your patience gets short. The parties, the shopping, the cooking and the traveling—along with all our normal non-holiday responsibilities—can leave us tired, stressed, and susceptible to low moods and low energy.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you feel the stress is seeping into your celebrations.
A lot of stress can be managed by letting go of what we think should
happen and keeping expectations of ourselves and others manageable. Pace yourself and plan ahead. Before the parties and family gatherings actually begin, decide on your limits—how much you’ll cook or how long you’ll stay—and stick to them.
Also, don’t give into the feeling you must do things the same way you always have. If the old traditions aren’t making you happy and are causing holiday stress, it’s okay to do something different.
Practice Self Care
If you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities and obligations, take care of yourself by saying ‘No’ and carving out time to refuel. Do what energizes you, and then return to festivities refreshed.
Keep your defences up against the winter flu and holiday stress by sticking to your normal sleeping, exercise and eating routines as much as possible.
An anxious mind tends to dwell on things that have gone wrong—or that might. Fight anxiety and stress by being mindful of the moment. Take five minutes, or even just a few deep breaths, and focus on the very moment you are in now; the twinkle of lights, the smell of good food, the smile of an old friend, and let your anxiety slip into the background.
Get Some Light
Even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the short days and gray skies may still be a factor contributing to low moods and stress. Sunlight is one of the things that allow our brains produce the neurotransmitters that help us fight off depression and anxiety. So sit by a window, or put your mittens on and head out to soak up some sunlight when you see it. For more serious cases of SAD, talk to a doctor about light therapy and other treatment options.