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Mental Health and the Holidays

While it may sound like a catchy rock band, there's nothing more hardcore than the non-stop list of events and "to-dos" of the holiday season!

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday because of all the warm, fuzzy feelings I get when I see all the lights lit up, sharing in all the traditions we carry in our family, the parties and good meals and just being around family!

Fort Worth Family Traditions
Fort Worth Family Traditions

I remember my Mom telling me she absolutely hated Christmas because she had the worst anxiety throughout the whole month -- shopping everywhere to find the PERFECT gift for the endless list she needed to buy for.-- and it honestly broke my heart!

How could you despise Christmas?

Fast forward about 15 years later when I became a parent! I was even MORE excited to watch my kids open gifts on Christmas and create my own traditions with them.. until I started to feel that pressure. My list changed from finding gifts for my immediate family and Grandma; to matching the gift giving from neighbors, friends, coworkers, my spouse's parents, the mail man, the dog walker and all the charitable donations I signed up for. After a year or two of spending hours and hours of buying and giving-- I started to get it. It wasn't fun to be an adult at Christmas...

A friend of mine recently told me she is refusing gifts this year. Simply not accepting any gifts if anyone brings them over. While it sounded like a wonderful thing to to remove one more gift off my list, I felt sad that I couldn't show her how much I cared for her with a perfectly manicured gift I put together to honor her.

It hit me in THAT moment... I wasn't giving her a gift to honor her. "Things" didn't honor our friendships. Our friendship was what was valuable to her. Like my friend, I decided to stop giving my close people the "stuff." We all have too much "stuff" and I wanted to honor my friends with my time and shower then in hugs & appreciation for being important to me.

Fort Worth Girl Gifts
Fort Worth Girl Gifts

For my little close friend group, we now have a pact that we are not giving gifts.. even if we find something that's a STEAL! Instead, we go pamper ourselves, find something new to try or treat ourselves to a fancy meal to just spend time together. THAT'S the real gift in a world that never has enough time.

While I'm still going to find things that my kids would LOVE to have on Christmas morning (or make sure Grandma gets her fruit cake she requests every year), I'm take the stress and anxiety out of gifts from now on.

Give someone you love the give of your present time.

Give the gift of giving someone an "experience."

Your mental health and heart isn't worth the stress over a $30 gift. It's not worth a $500 gift.

Your kids, your spouse and your friends will love you if you show up empty handed.

(Ok, maybe not your kids.. or spouse)

Your Mental Health and The Holidays CAN coexist.

But, you might be surprised how much MORE valuable your time (and health) is compared to anything wrapped with a bow.

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