The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and joy, but for many the holidays can be difficulty time, filed with sadness and isolation. Whether it’s feelings of loneliness, family struggles, issues with anxiety and depression, or the memory of a loved one lost, you are not alone. Many of us today find the holidays a season to survive rather than a time for celebration. Regardless if you are looking to develop new coping strategies for anxiety, define healthy boundaries with your in-laws, learn new parenting skills for your family or just to have some to talk to about feeling lonely and sad we can help. The professional treatment team at Taylor Counseling Group knows how hard it came be this time of year. We have a fun video for you below and some tips for not only surviving the holidays but thriving.
Especially for clients struggling with anxiety or more severe personality disorders, maintaining a reasonable routine can mitigate much stress brought on by all the plans made during the holidays. Family and friends may want to get together which requires extensive planning and travel that can throw routines off. Visit with your loved ones, but know your limitations and be willing to say no if the request or plan is more than you feel you can handle.
Budget and be thrifty during the holiday. Many people feel the pressure to buy their loved ones gifts. Always be honest with yourself about your budget. Nothing stresses a person out more than finances. Planning ahead, shopping sales, or simply making homemade thrifty gifts goes a long way to save precious time and money shopping. Creating gifts also gives you something fun to do and a sense of accomplishment. Websites such as Pinterest have great ideas for holiday DIY gifts.
Maintain realistic expectations about this time of year. The holidays often have unrealistic pressure surrounding them. We want the perfect turkey or ham, the perfect tree, to give and receive the perfect gifts, and to have perfect memories with family to take with us into the future. The reality is your family and friends are made up of imperfect humans. Much of the time these relationships have negative history attached to them that affects family interactions. Ever catch yourself feeling 15 again? You’ve just entered into some old, automatic family dynamics. Trying to navigate these can be tricky, and navigating them poorly can make interactions turn sour quickly. Give yourself and your family members the gift of grace this holiday season by having realistic standards.
For those of you who are social, do not spend your holidays alone. Get with family or friends depending on availability. If you don’t have anyone, look into volunteering at a group home or soup kitchen. This will give you company and allow you a chance to do something nice for another. If you are not as social, feel free to enjoy the holidays by yourself or with a small group of close ones. Do not feel pressured to join large gatherings if they make you uncomfortable. Holidays should be a time of comfort. A simple call to a loved one wishing them a happy holiday may be enough.
Be sure to maintain healthy boundaries with your friends and loved ones. Do not be too rigid and refuse to make compromises when making plans or choosing gifts with a partner, but also don’t be too flexible such as letting your siblings take advantage of you by having you host dinner at your house for the fifth year in a row. Keep communication and boundaries healthy.
Be sure to have fun, eat and be merry, but always practice moderation whether it is in your eating or drinking. This may help with your feelings of sadness or frustration temporarily, but for health and safety reasons, be sure to not overdo yourself when having some wine or eating the stuffing and mashed potatoes, especially if you struggle with addiction.
For those who struggle with depression and other potential disorders, be sure to keep up with your medication, if you have been prescribed any, and see a counselor if one is available. During bouts of severe depression, if suicidal intent arises, do not hesitate, CALL 911. Stay with your loved ones who can monitor you and keep your mood lifted if possible.
If you are stressed at work and becoming burned out, consider an actual vacation. Many people have time off from work anyways, its okay if you do something exciting if that is more your speed. Whether it is time with family or relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas, use this time off to relax and recharge your batteries because work will still be there come January. Pamper yourself and rest while you can.
Enjoy the holidays. We hope that your family gatherings go a little better than this one.
For more information regarding tips and services offered to help with surviving the holidays, visit the Taylor Counseling Group Blog.
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