Yes, the holidays are upon us! We have holiday parties, office parties, cards to send out, gifts to buy, trees to trim and the list goes on and on! As we get so busy trying to make the holidays enjoyable and memorable, we can lose sight of what our real desires are. In, a survey by the American Psychological Association, here are some brief facts. The good news, suicide rates are at their lowest during the holidays. However, anxiety is a different story. Anxiety increased in 38% of those surveyed. The most anxiety (56%) was surprisingly, due to extra pressure at work. Financial pressures were also cited as the most challenging.
So, for everyone’s mental and emotional health, I recommend having a brief meeting with your family, to discuss what everyone really wants (and I don’t mean presents). Kids might just want to have time to relax and not have to do anything! They may really want to spend more simple time with their parents playing board games, watching movies together or building Legos. Grandparents may want to be able to see the grandkids and catch up with their children about what is currently going on in their lives. We often want to connect with our siblings, friends and their children as well. Remember, as the Grinch learned, connection is really the best gift of the holidays.
Consider as you make your holiday list, adding these examples might reflect your real priorities. The list might look something like this, after spending time discussing this with your family:
- Schedule a family in home movie night and set up a “tent” for the kids in the living room
- Schedule a family board night along with roasting hotdogs over the fire pit
- Have the Andersson’s over for an evening of desserts and conversation
- Have grandma over for an evening of making decorations and cookies with the kids, while mom and dad go to a quiet dinner alone
The least important priorities could be, fancy formal dinners, making every holiday party, making sure you buy gifts for everyone you know, and even letting go of sending out holiday cards. Limiting the number of gifts for family member is also a way to decrease the chaos, requiring less shopping and less wrapping. Lastly, remember the “perfect family” photo cards and social media posts you receive don’t really reflect people’s real day to day lives. They are often staged moments.
Happy holidays and enjoy your family and friends! Kelly Lewallen, MFT
Contact Kelly Lewallen:
43585 Monterey Ave #1,
Palm Desert, CA 92260