With festive season round the corner and many families struggling with economic uncertainty, the joy of gift-buying and party-hosting may be lost, however, setting a budget can help people cope with the struggling situation, says an expert.
Dr William IsHak, medical director of the Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Service at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre said focusing on the meaning of the holidays could help ward off depression and anxiety triggered by financial stress.
Advertisement"Keeping perspective on the purpose of the holidays is key," said IsHak.
"Remember that this is a time to express appreciation, love and togetherness, and that doesn't have to mean spending the big bucks," he added.
He said that hand-made holiday cards and gifts, as well as get-togethers at home, could be the alternative to lavish presents and parties that sometimes cause emotional as well as financial stress.
Buying gifts that put more pressure on the budget probably won't make you happy, and its important to keep in mind that it's most likely not the cost of the gift that is important to the receiver.
IsHak said consider the gifts that often mean the most, but don't cost a dime. Spoken or written words can deliver a lot more power at much less cost.
"The season offers many opportunities for joy and celebration," said IsHak.
"The challenge is to acknowledge and address the potentially negative aspects of the season beforehand.
"By being flexible, dealing with the 'here and now,' having a sense of humour and trying to be as compassionate and forgiving as you can, it is possible to have a happy - and rewarding - holiday season," he added.
IsHak also offers several tips for enjoying the holiday season more fully while avoiding financial stress.
Set a budget and stick to it. Let others share the responsibilities of the season. No one person in the family should be burdened by managing the budgeting and shopping, party planning, cooking and activities.
Make a list, prioritize the activities that are most important to you and make time for those. This strategy will help budget your time and your money.
There is no ideal or model for a perfect holiday. Feel free to create your own unique way to celebrate.
Don't lose sight of the meaningful moments of the season. Look for them, and be optimistic that you will find them.
Participating in something meaningful during the holidays can help fight the blues.
Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out to others who may benefit from your support.
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