For many, the holidays are not so merry and bright!  All the hype and expectations around the holidays can have the opposite effect. The pressure to make the season the most wonderful time of the year, or mask your feelings, can actually be emotionally triggering, especially for people who are hurting — whether that be from a mental illness, past traumatic experiences, grief or loss of a loved one, or loneliness.  Just like adults, children and teenagers often exhibit signs of stress, anxiety or depression around the holidays. Recognizing and attending to these difficult conditions is important for all ages.

If you are one of the many that find themselves feeling glum this time of year, remember, it’s okay to find the holidays difficult.  Hiding your feelings or trying to force inauthentic feelings on yourself will only make matters worse. 

Instead, here are some ways for you to effectively fend off those holiday blues:

  1. Be kind to yourself
     Since the season is all about giving--first and foremost, give the gift of patience and generosity to yourself. Also remember to be as compassionate as possible to others--because everyone has a story and invisible wounds. 
     
  2. Set healthy boundaries 
    While family gatherings can provide comfort and joy for many, those dealing with family drama, trauma or abuse histories don’t always experience family harmony and peace at gatherings. If you know that something is too triggering or difficult to handle, it is okay to say no. Or, feel free to leave an event if you aren't comfortable. Your own well-being should be your first priority.
     
  3. Volunteer
     An important aspect of resiliency, especially during the holiday season, is a sense of belonging to healthy communities.  If you are alone or don’t have a healthy community this season, consider spending your time helping others.  Instead of feeling blue you’ll find yourself experiencing what the holidays are really about--sharing with others.
     
  4. Start a new holiday tradition 
    In truth, there are no rules for how to spend your holidays.  So, if old traditions trigger unhappy memories, start new ones. Planning an outing or vacation instead of staying home can positively change the holiday vibe. By finding new ways to celebrate, you empower and change the outcome for yourself.
     

May we all be blessed with inner peace and self-love this season!

 

These materials are provided to you by Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s
Eat Well, Be Well Nutrition Outreach Program.
For more tips and information, please visit www.blythedale.org/kohls.

Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well Program

Blythedale Children's Hospital, through the generosity of Kohl’s Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Children's Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.

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