With the holidays upon us it’s easy for us to get caught up in the rush of it all. While we may be cooking, shopping, and enjoying holiday events, there are others, many of whom are in our very own circles, having a tougher time.
Most holiday stress and anxiety come from:
We can reduce our gift-giving and offer experiences or fewer things.
We can simplify our expectations and stop comparing and refuse to look at Pinterest.
We can say no to situations or things that are not priority.
5 Kinds of People Most Likely to Get the Holiday Blues and How to Help:
1. Divorced or widowed
Loss is a sad, life-changing event at any time of the year.
However, it tends to be harder when everyone around you is joyful celebrating the holidays and you feel it’s an effort to get out of bed.
If someone in your circles is going through a major loss and life transition, be supportive and understanding.
They are grieving and mourning and are especially sensitive around the holidays. It’s important that they feel included but don’t be offended if they choose to opt out of certain events.
Checking in and offering them the option to participate in whatever they want, when they want is a great way to help. Love them through it.
The holidays could be stressful for small business owners because so much rides on the end of year.
They may be fretting over their profits (or lack thereof), the goals they didn’t reach, and the many things still to do.
They feel overwhelmed and when they are expected to shop, entertain and be present for their families, they may be short tempered and anxious.
The best way to help the busy entrepreneur is to make their life easier in any way possible. If they can’t make it to a family dinner, tell them your door is open for dessert. Oftentimes they feel guilty and obligated which only adds to their frustration.
Also consider that these worker-bees are conflicted. When they are working, they miss their families and when they are with family, they are thinking of work.
Adults who are caretakers to their chronically ill children, relatives, or elderly parents are incredibly overwhelmed and often overlooked.
As a caretaker, they always have to consider the well-being of their patient. They can’t just get up and go.
Caretakers may feel resentful, isolated and stuck during the holidays which leads to conflicted feelings of resentment and guilt. They also believe they have to be hands on managing everything.
It’s important to lighten the caretakers load by offering support even if it means asking them how they are doing.
Be patient and ask the caretaker what they need. It could be something as simple as having food delivered to their home to free up time for other tasks.
4. Recovering addicts
Recovering from addiction is hard. Period.
But it’s harder when holiday festivities are filled with friends and family drinking everything from spiked eggnog to champagne.
Understand that those in recovery from substance abuse are hyper-sensitive about being judged. They feel as if all eyes are on them and that pressure may trigger the desire to use drugs or alcohol to soothe their anxiety. When they aren’t fully recovered, they may anticipate possible “landmines” and avoid them. They may choose to stay to themselves and observe more and participate less. They might opt out of larger family gatherings that are too overwhelming.
Offer an open invitation and remind them they are welcome whenever they are ready.
Offer a safe celebration inclusive of all – with no temptation for alcohol, drugs, or gambling.
A balance of love, support, and acceptance is what they are in most need of.
5. Children of divorce
Divorce means two separate holidays at two different places and kids often feel overwhelmed having to double up.
It’s incredibly important for parents to agree civilly on where the kids are going during the holidays and all the logistical details.
Kids want to feel safe and secure. They don’t want to feel as if they are the expected to be rushed here and there because their parents chose to divorce.
It could be unsettling to younger kids and teens may isolate and rebel against any family events as they are sorting out their own emotions as they get used to a new normal.
Don’t burden kids with guilt trips or overdo it with presents to make up for the stress. Just be honest and supportive and loving.
You really want to establish a game plan for the holidays and if possible, stick to it every year.
The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many of us. It’s a time when we must be aware and extra kind to those on the fringes.
You might also like:
- Hope in the Dark
- Blue Christmas
- 5 Ways to Cultivate Relationships
- How to Have a Debt-Free Christmas
- Obstacles to Being Frugal During Holidays
- How We Had the Best Christmas Ever
- Do They Know it’s Christmas?
Quotes from Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teachers College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services.