SHAKING THE HOLIDAYS BLUES
by Rachel Minter, MSWc, Tulane Univ. New Orleans
Project Heal of Santa Barbara County-Social Services Project
Dear Mindset Journal,
How Do We Do The Holidays?
What does the “Holiday Season” bring to mind in you? It is so different for every individual. Some may stress about making the perfect meal, buying the perfect gift. Others may spend this time mourning the loss or absence of a loved one. Holidays tend to involve family, and that is very different for every individual.
The first holiday I ever hosted was one month after getting married (those of you who know the stress of that alone know). My husband and I had just bought a house (another stress). Add to that I was hosting a holiday meal for the first time ever in a house I barely know, one month after getting married for FOURTY of my husband’s family members! I love to cook, but for FOURTY?! I was a bit stressed.
The night before Thanksgiving I got the call that my grandmother had passed away. I truly lost it, guys. I had fourty people coming to my house the next day, some of whom were staying with us, and I just lost it.
So, here’s the deal: Holidays can be very stressful for so many reasons. Are we missing loved ones? Are we stressed about the family that’s coming? (that happens to me every year). Are we stressed about the preparation? Are we stressed because it takes us to memories that we may not be ready to or want to talk about? Are we stressed for any other reason? All of these are 100% reasonable and understandable.
A few ways I can deal with that:
1. CALL A FRIEND. When I found out my grandmother had passed on top of the other stress I had, I sat in my car and cried it out. Then I called my best friend. Being able to cry to her, talk to her, vent to her calmed me down enough to walk back in my house and take control of things again. I needed that.
The holidays are also a great time to remember loved ones who have passed. If you have family or friends around, bring them up in conversation. You’ll often find yourselves all laughing about stories from the past.
2. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO GRIEVE: In my case, it was a very immediate loss, but I miss loved ones every holiday season. Let yourself do that. Tell people that you need to take a walk or need time for yourself. Celebrate the holidays with those who you love, including those that you have lost.
3. ASK FOR HELP: That first Thanksgiving taught me this one big time. I like to be in control of my kitchen and my cooking, but I learned that I can’t do it all as a “one-woman circus”. Ask others to bring or make dishes or even just do the dishes. This will take a huge weight off of your responsibilities. Be willing to let go of those responsibilities. If you’re like me, that’s not always easy, but trust me that others will love to help.
4. SELF CARE: Do not forget that you need to put yourself first. For me, I will step outside to talk to a friend with a full house of guests or just go for a short walk. Go to bed when YOU need to go to bed. Don’t feel that you have to cater to your guests all day and night. I find that a nice walk or a talk with a friend helps calm me down a lot if I am stressed.
Overall, the holidays can be both stressful and emotional. Keep in the forefront of your mind that you need to take care of yourself first in order to take care of others. Well journal until next time...End Entry
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by Marie D Corbin, APRN (Ret), Executive Director & Contributors
Expression is a window to your soul - Marie Corbin.