We’re told time after time how this time of year is the “most wonderful time of year”. But for some, it’s not.
For those who are grieving, the holidays can strike up a different tune. Many people have hard times remembering holidays past and, perhaps, better times.
But grief isn’t just about loss. People can grieve for many different reasons which can trigger a downward spiral into isolation and loneliness. It’s the loneliness that can cause people to feel inadequate, and struggle with feelings like worthlessness.
Loneliness doesn’t just attack when you are by yourself. You can be surrounded by a room full of people and still feel empty. As it turns out, loneliness can actually impact your physical health, too. It can increase inflammation, heart disease- even high blood pressure.
People who are lonely are at risk because they struggle to receive love and support. The good news is, finding a sense of community and connection can really help combat loneliness this holiday season.
If you’re feeling lonely in the Raleigh, NC area this holiday season, there are plenty of ways to connect and build a community of support. Here are a few ideas…
How To Combat Loneliness in Raleigh, NC
Add Some Light To Your Life
Go see one of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in the Triangle is in Wake Forest. Piper Lights is the project of a family who really loves Christmas. They’re at 5725 Fixit Shop Road, Wake Forest. The display includes 7 acres of lights that will leave you feeling bright and merry.
Grab A Quiet Coffee
The Morning Times Coffee Shop & Gallery is the perfect place to get the morning off on the right foot. If you’re feeling lonely, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and stay awhile to enjoy the friendly and comfortable atmosphere it has to offer.
Support Local Community
Visit City Market, 215 Wolfe Street, Raleigh, for a wonderful holiday shopping experience! The City Market features a unique collection of art, restaurants, and retail in downtown Raleigh so you can support local and have fun scratching items off of your gift list!
As we approach the holiday season, let’s take a quick second and do a self-check.
How do you feel about the holidays? … Excited, stressed, anxious, frustrated?
The holidays emit SO many different feelings! Some based on family situations and others can be chalked up to current life stressors. Sometimes, the reality of the holidays doesn’t quite measure up to what we had envisioned. So, how can we be truly present amid the presents and turkey dinners?
Try these 3 ways this holiday season..
Prioritize and then Say “NO”
Reflect on past holiday seasons and think about what is important to you. It might be attending that one holiday party with your best friend. It could be having a conversation with your grandmother or attending a religious service. It could be reconnecting with a favorite sibling for drinks. Whatever it is, do those things and say no to other things.
It sounds simplistic, but it helps create calmness in this chaotic time of year where we feel that we must do ALL and be ALL which we don’t typically feel other times in the year. If there is an event that you feel that you need to make an appearance, but you aren’t thrilled about going, you can set boundaries. Think about how long you are going to stay. Who you will communicate with and who comes with you?
This relates to all aspects of the holiday season. If our minds are racing about what we need to do while we are trying to engage in another activity, it will leave us feeling rushed and stressed. It’s helpful to use the five senses to really engage with whatever you are doing. It’s about being mindful.
For example, if you are baking cookies: how does the dough feel in your hands? What do you smell and see around you? If someone is helping you, what are they saying to you? What does their face look like?
Focusing on the five senses is especially helpful when related to food and the holidays. Many times, we overeat and then feel regretful afterwards. Take a small bite of what you are eating and really savor the flavors. This will help you acknowledge are you eating just to eat or eating because you are hungry.
Listen to your body
Pay attention to what your body is telling you during the holidays. Sometimes we forget to do basic self-care such as making sure we are drinking enough water, getting enough rest, and exercising. If are traveling for the holidays, make sure you take time to get out of the car and stretch. When you are visiting with family, take a walk with them to enjoy the holiday decorations. Try to maintain as similar of a routine as you can such as when you go to sleep and when you wake up to help when you return to daily life post- holiday season.
Interested in learning more ways to be present this holiday season? Let’s talk more!
Feeling a little pressure to be perfect this holiday season?
Thinking about the Pinterest-perfect tree…..
Stressed about making holiday cookies that look like the ones on the front page of Cooking Magazine?
Losing sleep at night worrying about how you’ll finish your holiday shopping?
It’s time to let it go.
The holidays should be a time of joy, love, and gathering. If you change your mindset now, you’ll be able to build a better 2019! It’s perfectly natural to feel a little stress during the holidays- we all do to some extent! After all, our regular routines are disrupted, a lot of people are spending more, and maybe you’ve had one (or two) extra cookies. Here are a few great tips that will help you embrace the holiday season and let go of perfectionism and the stress that comes with it.
Find Your Happiness
Happiness is different for everyone! Some people like to really deck the halls and others are fine without even hanging a wreath. Do what makes you happy. There is actual science behind finding happiness and it has a lot to do with practicing gratuity. This holiday season, take a look around and find all the beauty in your life.
Stop The Comparison Game
In the age of social media, this is especially important! As you search for your own happiness, stop comparing yourself to others. Worry about you. You are good enough. Be Honest Only take on what you can handle. It’s OK to just say no. Don’t learn overwhelm lead to burnout. It can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
This time of year can bring up family stress when seeing some relatives and friends. Don’t feed into toxic relationships. If you have to opt out of an event because you are uncomfortable or overly stressed, communicate your feelings. Above all make it a priority to focus on your generosity and loving kindness. Reflect upon what you have instead of what you desire.
As therapists, we understand that some issues aren’t easily resolved. We’re here to walk with you. We can help families identify patterns that aren’t working and develop new ones that work better.
We’ll help you reconnect and feel supported so you can enjoy life and then holidays with the ones who matter most!