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Mental Health Awareness - Anxiety and The Holidays!

Are you like me and your anxiety levels rise just at the thought of the holidays approaching? Is it because of the shopping, the gifts, the money you're going to spend or don't have to spend, the family coming or not coming home, the food preparation, having to clean the house, decorating, and traveling? Then you have to clean up the mess afterward un-decorate everything, and put it all away. Stressful, right? Is your head spinning, mine is just thinking about it! So how do you cope with it all, without totally losing it and somehow enjoying the holidays? Here are a few tips that I have personally found helpful for me.

Shopping, Gifts & Money - I do as much of it as I can online! And I set a strict budget! I know my finances and what I can afford to spend and refuse to go over that, no matter what. I used to let it bother me, seeing social media and TV with how "commercialized" Christmas had become, then I realized there is so much more to it than "stuff" and once I truly accepted that, it honestly didn't matter to me anymore.

Family - This one honestly is the one I still struggle with the most. My children are all grown and no longer live at home and have children of their own, so Christmas morning looks a little different than in years past and that took a lot of getting used to. So my advice here is to cherish every moment you have with your children at home, they grow so fast and are gone in the blink of an eye. And as far as our parents/grandparents, etc...I understand what it is to lose a loved one and suddenly have to "celebrate" a holiday without them. That is indeed the hardest thing to do - my only comfort for that is to surround yourself with family, and other people that loved them too, and share in the joys of the precious memories you have, for they will last a lifetime.

Food & Decoration - This may sound strange but now, since losing my grandma, I don't really mind this too much, because some of the food that we prepare and some of the decorations remind me of her. So my advice here...if you're missing someone for whatever reason, include their favorite recipe or light a candle for them, do something in honor or remembrance of them.

As for the traveling, cleaning, and packing up, I don't really have any real tips for you there, I guess you just have to like that kind of stuff. I suppose I could correlate that with my grandma and my other mom as well, as they both loved traveling, decorating, and always kept a clean house, so they would be pretty proud of me if I did that too.

So I'll wrap this up to say...once I accepted that Christmas means more about PRESENCE than PRESENTS it became a lot less stressful and I'm able to enjoy the holidays without my anxiety levels rising.

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