The holidays are a time of joy, gratitude, and togetherness. But not for everyone. Some people find themselves filled with stress, anxiety, or the blues when the holidays roll around. An American Psychological Association survey found that 38 percent of people feel more stress around the holidays due to lack of money, time constraints, the pressures of gift giving, family gatherings, and more.
When you’re battling increased stress, anxiety, or blue moods you may be more vulnerable to unhealthy coping mechanisms—your Aunt Jenny’s pecan pie or an extra glass (or two or three) of bubbly. If you’re one of these people, act like a Warrior and devise a strategy to help you combat these feelings in a brain healthy way.
Here are five Warrior ways to manage your emotions so you can enjoy the holidays:
Connect with others. If you’ve experienced a divorce, a death in the family, or you simply can’t be with your loved ones this holiday season and you’re feeling lonely, seek out events in your community or at your church. This can offer you some much-needed companionship
Look for opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering is one of the best ways to boost your mood and lift your spirits. Spending time serving those less fortunate can also be a great reminder to stop focusing on what you don’t have and start feeling grateful for what you do have in your life.
Forget perfection. Obsessing over every little thing and expecting the holidays—and your family—to be perfect can set you up for a letdown. Don’t sweat the small stuff and vow to go with the flow at family gatherings.
Learn to say no. Don’t overschedule your days leading up to the holidays. Being selective about the invitations you accept can keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Schedule some me-time. During the holidays, you may be so focused on kids and family that you neglect your own health. Warriors need to remember to put on their own oxygen mask first. When you feel refreshed and rejuvenated, you’ll have more energy to give to the ones you love.
Stick to your high-powered nutrition plan. Don’t let feelings of loneliness or stress lead you to overindulge on sugary junk foods that will just make you feel worse. Plan ahead by making Warrior-approved healthy treats from The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook that won’t spark the addiction centers in your brain. If you can’t resist that pecan pie, just remember the three-bite rule. Taking three small bites will suffice to calm your craving but won’t trigger the addiction circuit.
See a professional. If your holiday blues linger or feel more like major depression, it’s a good idea to see a healthcare professional. You can schedule an appointment at Amen Clinics here.