Holiday Hurdles

Holiday time is a trying time of year in itself, but when you battle depression it increases the difficulty level. There’s parties, luncheons, dinners, get-togethers, family and friends, etc. It’s hard to maintain motivation to do everything expected.

For me, I have always made many Christmas cookies, decorated my tree and house, gone out to see decoration lights at our local zoo, attend parties…The past few years it is all I could do to get my tree up and decorated with only about half the ornaments I normally would. I only made my world-famous Scottish Shortbread because my daughter begged me to. I didn’t go to any parties, or anything, I just stayed home. My daughters’ friends came over to visit me, which I truly appreciated.

So this year I decided to take the race one hurdle at a time:

Shopping: The thought of Malls and People deter me from wanting to shop. That is the reason I try to get a lot of my shopping done before Thanksgiving. I avoid Black Friday and all that frenzy. With the help of Amazon a lot of gifts can be bought online with free shipping, so no extra charges. It keeps my mood elevated and my stress level minimized. Also, have a list and stick to it. It takes planning, but if you have someone who is hard to buy for, keep a list all year long and write suggestions. These people are the ones you shop for first by just walking the mall.

Decorating: Start with 1 thing. A wreath on the door is a good one. Every time you walk in or out of the house you see the wreath and you gain spirit. No one said you had to decorate in one day! Start a week before Thanksgiving with little things. I strung some lights inside but didn’t plug them in right away. Then I put my tree up…no decorations only lights (I put a lot of lights on my tree). I left my tree naked for a few days (I wanted my cats to get used to the tree). Then with the lights plugged in, I put the ornaments on. I like watching White Christmas when I do this for a little extra motivation. Like I said, there is no law saying you have to do all your decorating in one day, or even a weekend.

Other traditions:

Baking: In order to get motivated to bake, I took my big MixMaster out and put it on our island right after Thanksgiving. Then I took all the butter I would need out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. The day I was thinking of baking, I took the butter out to get to room temperature early. leave yourself plenty of time to bake, no rushing.

Christmas lights: I started a tradition the year I got divorced of going to our local zoo for their holiday light show. My girls love the zoo, no matter what; but when you add Christmas lights it’s way better. We set a specific date to go and really try to stick to that date, barring really bad weather. A little snow makes it better, but a lot of snow and the driving is stressful.

Parties: I dread parties. Once I’m there I have a good time, but it’s getting me there. Just pick and choose what party to go to. If you only can handle one, go to the one where you will see most of the people you want to see. Pick a get-together where you have plenty of time to get there. Arrive as close to the start as you can, so then if you want to you can leave a little early. For the rest of the gathers, just say you will try to make it and that way if you want to go that day you can, if not you don’t.

Holiday Spirit: Again, no law you have to have an elf-dose of spirit. If someone says, “Merry Christmas!” You say it back, or just a, “To you too!” What I have found is a great ugly sweater is a good factor for elevating my spirit that day.

Enjoy your holidays anyway you like. Other’s expectations should not play a part. If you focus on other people, it’s going to have an equal and opposite reaction. Please, if you are feeling really low, talk to someone! Hotlines are always available and so is talkspace.com. Most health insurance plans have benefits for therapy, use it.

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