For many, the holidays are a time to share in the joy of family traditions and create new special memories. But for some, these expectations can make holidays stressful, especially for those that feel disconnected from family or friends, those that feel alone, or those that may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Regardless of your situation, some degree of stress and tension around the holidays should be expected. Consider some of these suggestions to help prepare you for this busy time of year and make the holidays a special time in your own way.
Create Your Own Traditions -- The holidays are directly connected to the traditions of the past. When those traditions are additionally connected to painful or troubling memories, it’s time to create healthy traditions of your own. Think of new events you can participate in on your own or invite new people to join you in an old tradition. Make a point to keep your new traditions alive each year, and they will start to add happy memories to your holiday spirit.
Be a Participant -- Sometimes what you need are good friends around you. Look for opportunities to get involved in holiday activities that get you out having fun with friends and family. Attend parties, invite friends to local activities, or even take a trip to some regional events. A little holiday spirit can go a long way.
Ask for Others to Chip In -- Just because you are hosting the holiday event does not mean everyone else gets to sit back and do nothing. Remember, the true meaning of holidays often comes down to sharing the holiday experience with the ones you love and feeling thankful and blessed. Welcome everyone to share his or her favorite recipe or bring a game that helps unite everyone. Getting together on a holiday because of tradition is one thing, but joining families and creating new memories and traditions will bring you closer and make the time you spend together more meaningful.
Keep Your Life in Focus -- It can be easy to focus on what you don’t have, and not what you do have, during the holidays. Make a point to celebrate the good things in your life. Contact your friends and remind them of how much you value their friendship and support. Another great way to remind yourself of how fortunate you are is to volunteer at a local charity or food kitchen to help others and give back to your community.