Column: Most Wonderful Time Of Year, Or Is It?

December 10, 2015

Jacqueline[Opinion column written by Jacqueline Perreault]

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it?

Despite the magic of the holiday season, with all its Christmas carols, sparkling lights and eggnog drinks, this time of year can bring with it a lot of stress. Entertaining, shopping, crowds, back-to-back diet ruining parties, and forced family gathering dysfunction can be so overwhelming that it’s easy not to feel too wonderful.

Experts say that this is the toughest time of the year for some, and that the holiday blues are a very real phenomenon. Expectations are high as we try to recreate the anticipation of the holidays from our childhood and the miracle of Christmas that is represented on TV and through its commercialization.

Despite all the anticipation of the upcoming season, there are many ways we can create a relaxing holiday if we plan properly and manage our own expectations. Below are some tips on how to keep your calm, escape the seasonal blues, and stay healthy and happy during the holiday season.

Be realistic. We all have that idealized version of how the holidays should unfold and will only end up disappointed if they don’t meet our expectations. Remember no one has the perfect family or perfect holiday. So take the pressure off and give yourself a break.

Learn to say no. Trying to fit in every tree trimming, work party and family get together will have you overwhelmed. Pick and choose which events you can attend. Not feeling up for hosting Christmas dinner? Then don’t. Allow someone else to take a turn or don’t be afraid to ask for help with cooking, decorating or shopping.

Budget. Financial limitations are another source of stress this time of year. Make a budget for entertaining and gifts and stick to it. Try a gift exchange with friends and/or family members to save on costs.

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out support from your community and stay connected to friends. Try volunteering your time to help others. This could be working in a soup kitchen or in a senior’s home.

Set aside differences. This time of year we often spend time with family members we see infrequently with perhaps not the best history. We may revert back to a role we played in childhood. Make a conscious effort to set aside differences during your family events to ensure all go smoothly and remember who you are today.

Keep your health top of mind. Don’t allow the holidays be an excuse for over indulgence. Your healthy habits that keep you together the rest of the year – be it meditation, exercise and nutritious food – should not be ignored. Try to get your sleep, schedule exercise into you day and fill up on healthy snacks prior to attending parties.

Spend some quality alone time. Make time for yourself, whether it is to read a book, indulge in a spa treatment, or go for a walk. A little self-pampering will go a long way with how you interact with others.

Book a vacation. Sometimes it’s nice to have something to look forward to after the holidays are all said and done. A vacation will allow us to sit back, relax and put the year in perspective and plan for the upcoming year.

As the holiday season kicks off, I hope you are filled with calm, joy and happiness.

- Jacqueline Perreault [pictured] is the Corporate Wellness Director for Colonial Medical Insurance.

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Comments (2)

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  1. True says:

    I have to agree it is stressful .
    more help for the live alones needs to be thought of and less on the comerical that would be nice … Namaste… Cheers

  2. Quinton Berkely Butterfield says:

    Excellent tips!! Thanks!!