The holiday season is supposed to be filled with bright lights, delicious food, warmth, and loved ones. It is a time to be grateful for the abundance in your life, and to share your gratitude and appreciation with others. Unfortunately, for some people, it can also be a time of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and debilitating stress. Left unresolved, these attitudes develop a life of their own, creating stress that overtime can lead to emotional exhaustion and other problems.

What do we do when life seems hopeless and we feel stressed out? We move into areas we think will help: more work, more alcohol, more obsessive/compulsive activity, more entertainment, more frantic escape from reality. But it’s always more and more of the wrong thing. Instead of helping us regain control of our lives, it produces an internal environment that evolves into burnout. When our burnout and stress builds to a level at which we cannot endure the pain any longer, we cross the line to physical and mental exhaustion.

Before long, we forget who we are and what we’re about. We turn into a holiday Scrooge. We forget that joy comes from within, not from external sources. It is difficult to fake joy and happiness at holiday parties and family gatherings when we feel dark and empty inside. To some degree, we’ve all been there. We’ve all lost sight of the purpose of the holiday season, and we begin to focus on the wrong things.

So how do you de-stress your life during the holiday season, and regain the joy and light that is supposed to come with the holidays? One good place to start is with gratitude. Despite your current situation, both internal and external, we can all find something to be grateful for. For the next two weeks, take time each morning and night to write down 3 things for which you are grateful. This simple act can drastically change how you experience your day and how you interact with the people around you.

Next, take time to reevaluate the purpose of the holiday season. If you find yourself getting stressed out with buying the right gifts, preparing extravagant meals, or upcoming holiday events, ask yourself what your priorities are and how you can simplify the process. Instead of shopping for gifts and spending time wrapping, perhaps you can instead give the gift of time, planning a fun activity with those you love. This not only mitigates the time and stress of the gift-giving process, but also refocuses the holidays on what matters most—spending time with those we love.

If feel like your life is so out of control that you can’t regain balance on your own, you may need to seek the help of a professional. At The Center • A Place of HOPE we not only help to ease your symptoms, but we also seek to heal their root causes. If you are ready to regain true balance and happiness in your life, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a specialist today.