‘Tis the Season…for joy, happiness, and time spent with friends and family. ‘Tis also the season for stress, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion. While we are excited about the holidays, and may often look forward to the season, we also are overwhelmed by the many festivities and obligations. We’re busy attending holiday programs and concerts, cooking and baking, decorating, cleaning, hosting company, and of course shopping. It is extremely easy to get lost in the daily shuffle of it all, which can cause us to feel stressed and anxious. The season that we were so excited about has now become dreaded, and we can’t wait for it to be over with.

This is the tug of war we play every year. We don’t need to. We become so caught up in the process of it all that we forget why we’re doing it. We forget that we enjoy the holidays because of the joy and happiness we (hopefully) experience when we spend special time with our friends and family. That if it wasn’t for those people in our lives, there would be no need for baking and cooking, shopping, or decorating, and there would be no holiday programs to attend. The holiday season was never meant to be the source of stress; we have created that ourselves through the generations.

Make the season become once again about celebration. Change your thinking pattern. Rather than dreading another holiday work party, consider the fact that while you are at a work function absolutely no work is expected of you. Decorate the house if it makes you happy to do so, but don’t put up more that you’ll want to take down later. Let baking and cooking become a family tradition that you can do with your children, and let there be something special about it like singing songs or bringing a plate over to an elderly neighbor. Learn your limits and abide by them. Sometimes things are better when they are simpler. And never forget that excitement you felt for the holidays when you were a child.

The holidays can be a very stressful time for many, but only if we allow it to be.

Kelly Renzi, PsyD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist