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Happy Holidays! Unless you're too stressed to enjoy them.

According to the Hallmark Channel’s ever popular Christmas movies, problems are surmountable and it all works out in the end - usually by Christmas Eve. Christmas specials solve all your problems with a witty song. And am I supposed to give my partner a car with giant bow on them as a Christmas present? What if you don’t celebrate Christmas? Try finding decorations for any other holiday right now. It may feel like you don’t matter.

But life takes more than a simple song and a quick solution. For many, November-December are hard months to get through. Some have lost loved ones and the empty seat is more noticeable this time of year. Some have suffered job losses and are struggling to meet basic needs let alone buy gifts. Add in the demands for parties and baking and year end deadlines and it’s no wonder anxiety and depression increase.

If you love this time of year and it brings you joy, that’s great! Enjoy it. Set reasonable goals for your time and money so that you continue to get the most from each moment. Now and then, remind yourself that not everyone feels the same way and be thoughtful in your interactions.

If you are one of those people counting the days until January, take extra care of yourself. Try to get outside for a walk now and then. Visit with a friend who gets you. Decide what you need from the holidays and set realistic expectations that meet those needs.

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself this month:

  • Treat yourself without overindulging

  • Acknowledge your feelings of sadness and frustration

  • Let go of traditions that no longer work for you

  • Plan for how you will will spend money and time

  • Pick your battles with those difficult family members

  • Volunteer to feel connected on those lonely days

  • Practice saying no

For more details on why this time of the year is rough and what to do about it, here are some links:

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