These are uncertain and often frightening times for many people. While none of my clients have thus far suffered any major emotional setbacks, the holidays are quickly approaching and I expect to see more depression and anxiety. Since money is very tight and many have lost their homes and/or jobs, while others now have extended family living with them, this holiday season will be more of a challenge than most of us are comfortable dealing with.
How will you cope with the upcoming season?
Here are a few tips to inspire further thought and planning:
- Make a budget and stick to it - Do it now while we are still a ways from the actual season and you are not unduly influenced by commercials, store displays, or just plain guilt.
- Be realistic - Everyone is struggling to one extent or another. Don't fret about buying little Johnny that super-expensive toy he's been wanting, because few parents will be able to do so this season. Instead, why not build some memories together? Craft stores have nifty little dioramas, solar system mobiles, snap-together models, doll making supplies, etc. Chances are, the kids will remember these activities a lot longer than they will who gave them the X-Box.
- Plan your menus - Scour grocery ads for sales, and become a coupon clipper. A nice roast or turkey on sale this week will rest comfortably in your freezer until needed.
- Be honest - Let your family and loved ones know how you are feeling, including the kids. Children are a lot tougher and wiser than we often give them credit for, and really deserve to be included in family concerns. Just don't lean on them for support. Let the kids know that by working together, everyone will have a good holiday.
- Drink less alcohol, get exercise, and spend some time in the sunlight - Even short walks in the neighborhood will give you a fresh perspective, improve your mood, and maybe even introduce you to the new people who moved in this past Spring (and are likely going through similar problems).
- If you can, squirrel a little cash away for emergencies - Like the roast that got burned. Grocery stores often have pre-cooked turkeys and chickens, and while sometimes a little pricey, they can help overcome a cooking disaster.
Most of all, take time for you. Re-discover simpler pleasures like reading a good book, taking a bubble bath, or star gazing. Realizing that we are all in pretty much the same boat, will help mitigate some of the Holiday Blues.