Leaves are changing colors, pumpkin spice is in the air and little lights are going up, marking the beginning of the holiday season.
While this time of year is largely celebrated for joy, togetherness and thankfulness, not everyone is able to greet the season with the same sense of happiness. For many reasons, the holiday season can be difficult.
The holidays can invoke many difficult feelings due to pressures to feel a particular way, reminders of past holidays or lost loved ones, or even financial hardships. That’s why it’s important to remember self-care throughout this time. Below is a list to give you some ideas for how you can help manage stress this holiday season:
- Acknowledge how you’re feeling. It’s okay to feel however you do, and you don’t have to feel a certain way just because it’s the holiday season. If you’re not feeling celebratory, it’s okay to take some time and space for yourself to take care.
- Plan ahead. Planning for events, menus or shopping lists can help you avoid the stress of a last-minute trip and can grant you peace of mind to avoid forgetting items.
- Stick to a budget. Before you go shopping for the holidays, make sure to plan for what you can afford and stick to it. Doing this can help take the burden off financial stress and help you find what’s realistic for you. For those with low-income or without shelter, you can also call 2-1-1 to find holiday resources that may be of help.
- Take some time for yourself. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself and can be necessary to reduce stress and clear your mind. It’s much harder to complete tasks or take care of others, if your needs aren’t being met. Set realistic boundaries for what you can and cannot do, and be okay with saying “no” to things that don’t make you feel happy or comfortable.
- Ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember it’s okay to ask for help.
- Reach out. If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression, stress, or grief, reach out to someone you love and trust. If you would prefer to reach out anonymously, you can always call Crisis Connections’ phone lines:
- 24/7/365 – 24-Hour Crisis Line: 1.866.789.1511
- 24/7/365 – WA Recovery Help Line: 1.866.789.1511
- 6 to 10 Every Evening – Teen Link: 1.866.TEENLINK
- 5 to 9 Every Evening– WA Warm Line: 1.877.500.WARM
- 8 to 4pm, M to F (closed for federal holidays) King County 2-1-1: 2-1-1
Remember, there are many reasons for why the holidays can be stressful and difficult for people. Your experience and your feelings are valid.
For more information, visit www.crisisconnections.org