The Holidays

stress_free_christmas
While some people are out buying last-minute gifts, thawing turkeys, getting extra beds ready for company, doing the last-minute things to trim the tree and make their homes beautiful, a segment of the population is not quite so thrilled about it all.
I can’t possibly go in to all the reasons why people are not at all happy during Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate) but I can discuss a few.

Triggers
Christmas and other holidays were not happy in everyone’s homes. Whether due to family and friends excessive drinking, fighting, not having the escape of time at school or serious family squabbles that did not end well at all. I could go on but don’t feel the need to. I am sure you get the idea.
These issues can be dragged along in to adulthood with us and it can make this time of the year very stress filled rather than joyful.
I think the only real way to handle these triggers is by deciding where healthy places for you to be are. If the family still drinks, fights or gets belligerent? Maybe you don’t really need to be there OR you can excuse yourself early. It is okay to not allow other people to ruin your day. Honest. You really do have the right to take care of your own needs first.

Addictions
If you are in recovery for any addiction, you are more than likely going to face it a lot over the holidays. The stress alone can make you want to turn back to your old best friend but so can cakes made with rum, umpteen offers for a drink and idiots that will actually say “One little drop won’t hurt you”.
Then their are people who give scratch tickets to a recovering gambling addict.
Food addicts? I am so, so, so sorry. Christmas has you surrounded. Stay strong!
Many addictions are harder to avoid at this time of year so be sure to stay connected to healthy people who know you need some extra support during the season.

Loneliness
Even if you are surrounded by people, this season can still leave you feeling lonely. I have many friends that wanted to be married and have children but for a multitude of reasons, this wish did not work out for them. Holidays can make these losses feel even more acute.
I will admit that I find Christmas lonely even though I have a husband and children. Christmas reminds me that I have no birth family that cares. This year may also be the first year that one or two of my children will not be coming home for Christmas. Most days I am able to put that in to perspective but on holidays that is tougher.
What I have done that helps quite a bit is to make a list of the people who are in my life. You need to make this list now though and not wait until you feel depressed. I list all the amazing people who I do have in my life and I am blessed with many. Looking at that list really helps me feel far less lonely.

Finances
I doubt I need to talk about this one much! ๐Ÿ˜‰
All the extra food (snacks, meals, and baking), gifts, decorations, travel, a climbing power bill, and if you are at all like me? A small fortune in candles.
This can add a lot of stress to anyone but I think we all need to remind ourselves that it is only a day and your worth is not pinned on our Christmas performance.
The people who care about you will know if you are short on funds or just can’t offer much. If they fuss about it? You need some new friends. Sadly I am not joking here.

Stress
I can’t speak for you but the WORST thing to send my symptoms in to high gear is stress. Good stress, bad stress, it makes no difference. All the visiting we do, the extra people over to our home, decorating, cleaning, and all the parties of many sorts.
This doesn’t even take in to account that I planned my families birthdays at a horrible time! 3 of us surround Christmas. Silly, silly, silly…
I made a really concerted effort last year to book quiet days amongst the busy ones. At least 2 per week. I made my family understand that these days were for recharging and relaxing. It worked rather well and I will do it again this year.
Always remember yourself in all your plans and all your thinking about what needs to be done for others.

Happy holidays and best wishes to you all.
Heather and the Helpers

7 responses to “The Holidays

  1. IT is a hectic time of year. I have made the decision to see people in small groups. No big parties. I can’t handle all of the energy. I know this about myself now and I know I have the right to take care of this need. I am an alcoholic and alcohol is everywhere. This year I know that alcohol can never give me the feelings I have right now of completion.

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    • Good for you! I do the same. I have a lot of visits to make and I am spreading them out. I am also an alcoholic and even though I’ve been sober for 16 years, I still really crave it during stressful times. It is REALLY hard to avoid it this time of year. I am so happy that you have made plans to make staying sober easier on yourself. If you ever need some help, feel free to contact me. heathershelpers at mail.com ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I love Christmas; I love the decorating, cooking, the buying and wrapping of presents, the cheesy movies and music, the tradition. But it would be fair to say I haven’t always. What you said about loneliness Heather really struck a chord with me. My teens and twenties were a lonely time mostly, not helped by a Dad who hates Christmas and can’t/won’t see the point of it and who strongly disapproves of the money wasted! When I met my husband and we had our own home that changed, despite lack of money and the sadness of not having children. We both love it, and I will especially love it this year as I won’t be exhausting myself entertaining my in-laws! This year I won’t be waiting on people who never do the same for me (in spite of my worsening health issues); I took your advice Heather and just said no. We will visit family on Boxing Day instead. Merry Christmas to everyone, and here’s to a healthy and happy 2015.

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  3. This is so true. For some reason most of my close relatives have died around Christmas. That causes a lot of memory stress. My wife gets so stressed and triggered around Christmas and the list goes on. I appreciate that you wrote this blog at this time. It makes it easier to know that my lack of positive attitude around this time is not just me.

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    • You are not alone. It looks to be such a wonderful time for everyone else out there but behind closed doors, many struggle. Myself included. I do hope the season passes by you without too much added stress this year. All the best to you!

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