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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Hitting the Racks or Choosing to Relax

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There is a little over one week left before Christmas. By now you have successfully checked off decorating the tree and hanging up the Christmas lights from your to-do lists. But the one item that still remains on the list is to go shopping for Christmas presents. For many this is an item that most of us dread because it results in a variety of annoyances such as purchasing expensive items that you know will potentially be lost or broken this time next year. Spending an irritating amount of time awaiting your turn in shopping lines because the person in front of you is arguing with the cashier about not giving her a discount on the sweater she is purchasing. Voiding children running up and down the store aisles as they are either pleading their parents to purchase the newest toy or to take them to see Santa. And then of course attempting to find a parking space within the endless sea of cars and wondering if you could potentially get away with parking in the handicap space.

For those of you who find the things I mentioned above as enjoyable signs that Christmas is near, please do not think that I am picking on you or label me as a Mr. Scrooge. For I know there are some who are not fans of these activities during the holidays. As a matter of fact, it has been shown that the burden of shopping during the Christmas holiday can cause some individuals to feel a tremendous amount of fatigue, anxiety, stress, and for some depression. These feelings can in turn lead to over eating/drinking, over spending, and over sleeping. Yet rather than allow such stressors to consume you and put a damper on the happiness you can experience this holiday, here are a few creative holiday ideas that can provide you with more opportunities to relax and enjoy your holiday:   

  1. DIY: Use your hobby and your creativity to your advantage through do-it yourself presents. If you have skills in knitting/crocheting; scarfs, gloves, and mittens are always appreciated during the winter season. For the skilled bakers reading this article, I have yet to meet someone who would turn down a box of homemade cookies or brownies. And for those searching for some creative inspiration, sites such as Pinterest always have fun and innovative ideas that allow you to give your loved one a gift that they will forever treasure.
  2. Online Shopping: Avoid the hassle of crowds by choosing to do your shopping online this holiday. Outside from the typical Ebay, Amazon, and Groupon.com sites, other sites that will give you more bang for your buck are:
  1. Volunteering Your Time: Something as simple as telling a friend that your present to them is to help them paint their kitchen, helping your sister organize her closet, or volunteering for a local charity. Studies show that people, who choose to take a few hours out of their busy schedule to volunteer for a good cause, live longer, happier, and less stressful lives.
  2. Spending Time with Those You Love: The gift of giving someone your time will be especially helpful for the individuals that are difficult to shop for. You would be surprise how the simple gift of paying a loved one a surprise visit can mean more to them than any gift store bought gift. Even if some distance separates you and that person you may like to visit, why night make a weekend trip of it. You might even see that time away from home is just what you needed to release the stress and negative energy surrounding you.

While these ideas can play an important role in reducing both stress and symptoms of depression that can occur during this time of year, they are not the only solution. If you find yourself becoming more and more depressed and/or anxious during this time please take the time to seek professional and medical help. It is quite common to feel this way due to all the stresses that this time of occur can bring. So know that you are not alone and know that choosing to help yourself by seeking counseling or therapy is the present that you can give yourself.

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