The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: 4 Ways to Make it the Hap-happiest Season of All Part 2

 In General Counseling

What do you do when the holiday season brings feelings of stress, chaos and loneliness instead of joy and excitement? Here are some tips to make it the happiest season of all.

Set Realistic Expectations

What do you expect from yourself and others during the holiday season? What do others expect from you? These are helpful questions to consider when making decisions during the holidays. When considering these questions look for changes you can make that will decrease stress and help you identify realistic expectations. The holidays are times for families to be together. Ask for help and discuss what traditions are important to keep and which ones can be changed or eliminated.

Decide on a budget and stick to it. The gift of time and handmade gifts are often the ones that have the most lasting impact on others. Evaluate your needs and your finances to make wise decisions without falling in to pressure to buy the latest fad for your spouse or your children.

Plan Ahead

It isn’t necessary for you to do everything. Enlist the help of others. Ask guests to bring a dish or do a potluck. Make some of the dishes ahead and freeze them for your events. Use the services of local stores and restaurants to purchase food for your holiday get together.

Make a gift shopping list. Don’t assume you know what Grandpa wants for Christmas. Ask him instead.

Save Time for Yourself

Learn to say no; don’t over commit. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s even ok to forget a gift for Uncle Joe. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Use the time to make connections and enjoy yourself but respect the time you need for yourself to destress.

Be aware of how you respond to the changes in weather during the winter. There is a reduced level of sunlight that may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of sadness. Hormone changes may influence you mood and sleep patterns.

Focus on the Present

Enjoy the moment. Remember to do things that YOU enjoy. Consider meeting family and friends for physical activities as a part of the holiday celebrations. Try something new and create a new tradition and still maintain a regular exercise routine. Get plenty of sleep. Listen to your body and rest when it tells you to rest.

Don’t ignore feelings of sadness or loneliness. Feelings can intensify during the holiday season. The happiest season of all is often the loneliest season of all for others. Reach out to someone if you have the holiday blues instead of the holiday cheer. Spend time with people who care about and support you.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness or relationship issues, please give the caring professionals at Water’s Edge a call. With over 70 years of combined counseling experience, we are here to help.


  • American Heart Association. Holiday Stress? Try Our Top 5 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season Accessed 3/30/2016.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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