During this holiday season, I invite you to extend yourself to family and friends who may be experiencing more stress than usual, by offering a helping hand or listening ear.

This time of year commonly brings more stress than other times of the year, and this year especially many are experiencing more stress than usual. How can you help?

First by taking good care of yourself and second by offering the greatest gift that you have, which is your undivided attention when you are spending time with someone. In order to do this, it is important to first take good care of “precious” you and to know when you are not emotionally available to offer support to someone else.

Some of us have been trained from a very early age to be caregivers, even when our own emotional “cup” is empty. Now, is the time to be very aware of how present you are when offering someone support. If you are emotionally drained, the well is empty and the person on the receiving end picks up on this.

So set a good example of sound self care before offering yourself to another. The benefits you will experience, will be tenfold.

5 Ways to Help a Friend or Loved One Overcome with Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be a time of great joy or great sadness. If you have a friend or loved one who is coping with a job loss, death, serious illness, or home foreclosure, it can be hard to know how to help.

These tips from the authors of Overcomers Inc: True stories of hope, courage, and inspiration will help.

1. Be sensitive to your loved ones’ limited financial resources. If your brother’s just lost his job, bragging about your holiday ski trip would be cruel. Instead, suggest low-cost or free holiday gift suggestions so that everyone can participate, even if money is tight.
2. For the recently widowed or others who are in mourning, don’t avoid mentioning the departed family member. Gently reminisce about favorite family memories. It’s better to speak of the departed that to carefully avoid all mention of his or name. Follow the lead of the person in grief. If the discussion is too difficult, she will change the subject. Many times, the widow or widower will appreciate the chance to share a memory of the lost loved one.
3. Allow people to have their space, but watch out for isolation. Stress and grief can be exhausting. Your friend or family member may not be up to the traditional all day shopping trip or noisy holiday party. Let her set the pace. However, if you sense that your loved one is withdrawing from everything, consider stopping by for a quiet visit or a cup of tea. Loneliness is most acute during the holidays so some extra loving care will be very helpful.
4. Invite your loved one to an uplifting community activity. Holiday concerts, drives to see colored lights, and religious activities can be a source of connection and enjoyment. It’s hard to not to smile when you see a child’s joy or a humorous holiday play. Fun is often in short supply, especially when things are hard. Strive to bring some joy to your loved one and increase their contact with their community.
5. Be patient and understanding. Your efforts to bring joy and comfort will be appreciated, even if your hurting loved one can’t express that gratitude right at the moment. A person dealing with a serious life challenge can be emotionally fragile so be gentle, encouraging, and present. That understanding is the best possible gift you can provide.

May your holiday season be filled with love, compassion, peace, and forgiveness.

Author's Bio: 

Catherine VanWetter ~ Inner Resolution Facilitator Of Peace, Compassion, Forgiveness & Love

I am so excited to be offering a wonderful new program: Overcoming Adversity TeleSeries. Every week I will share a heartfelt discussion with a special guest on specific topics that relate to Overcoming Adversity. I invite you to join us for this complimentary series. http://www.totheheartofthematter.com/teleseries
With a Grateful and Very full Heart, Catherine VanWetter, Inner Resolution Facilitator Of Peace, Compassion, Forgiveness & Love