October 1 marked the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) state-based Health Insurance Marketplace. Many may find themselves unsure as to who is required to get coverage, who is exempt and perhaps not clear how or if the ACA will affect them at all.
Simple Steps to Preventing the Holiday Blues
With Christmas fast approaching, the holiday blues can make a time of happiness, fellowship and peace one of sadness, anxiety and conflict.
The American Psychological Association offers the following tips to prevent the holiday blues and have a happy, anxiety-free holiday season.
- Take Time for Yourself – There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do—others will benefit when you’re stress-free. Go for a long walk, get a massage or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries—by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.
- Volunteer – Many charitable organizations are also suffering due to the economic downturn. Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where you and your family can volunteer. Also, participating in a giving tree or an adopt-a-family program, and helping those who are living in true poverty may help you put your own economic struggles in perspective.
- Have Realistic Expectations – No Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or other holiday celebration is perfect. View inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won’t ruin your holiday; rather, it will create a family memory. If your children’s wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about the family’s finances this year and remind them that the holidays aren’t about expensive gifts.
- Remember What’s Important – The barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. When your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back and remind yourself that what makes a great celebration is loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.
- Seek Support – Talk about your anxiety with your friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work toward a solution for your stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consider seeing a professional such as a psychologist to help you manage your holiday stress.