As we come to a full swing into the holiday season, many of us are preparing our shopping lists, getting baking supplies, decorating our homes, and getting to be a part of another festive season with our families and friends. However, for many of us, this can be a difficult time. Holidays can bring up many mixed emotions that can leave us wondering This is a happy time, I’m supposed to be happy, but I’m not or Why do I feel so alone at this holiday party with all these people? You are not alone in thinking this way. The holiday season can be a time when we have our most impactful memories because they evoke a great deal of different emotions within us.
Maybe this year you are having a difficult time because you are mourning the loss of a family member or loved one, maybe this year is hard because you have run into financial trouble, or perhaps this year is challenging for a number of different reasons. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to remember that it is ok to not be full of the holiday spirit and remember to not force yourself into pretending that everything is perfect if it’s not. There are many other people that are experiencing these struggles during this time of year. During this holiday season if you find yourself getting over-stressed or experiencing more depression than usual, try to take a step back and take care of yourself first.
Try these helpful hints for getting through the holiday season:
1. Stop and Listen To Your Emotions: If you’re feeling sad or unhappy, ask yourself where is this coming from? Is something or someone making me upset? Am I making myself upset? Whether you have an answer or not, ask yourself is there anything I can do improve my mood? Watching a movie with the family, going out to have a coffee break, or taking a walk around the park with the dog are a few examples of solutions that may ease any uncomfortable feelings.
2. Take A Break: If you find yourself in a situation that is becoming too stressful, try to walk away from the situation and take a 15-minute break. Try either going into a room where you will not be disturbed or go outside and take a walk around your neighborhood. This can give us a chance to slow down and not get caught up in the heat of the moment.
3. Remember Your Boundaries: If you are not comfortable with doing something your friends or family want to do, allow yourself to say “no”. It’s okay if you do not want to do what everyone else is doing. Sometimes we don’t get to do the thing we want to do during the holidays because we are so busy doing so much for others. You have the right to enjoy this holiday season the way you want to as well.
4. Be Realistic: No one’s family is the “Brady Bunch” and things don’t always go as planned. Something may even be ruined in your opinion. It’s okay, life happens. This does not have to be the best or the perfect holiday season, but it should be one that brings you joy and only you can determine what that is.
We hope these tips will serve you well this holiday season!
From all of us here at the West Valley Counseling Center, we wish you the warmest and happiest of holiday seasons.
Written By Brendan Nierenberg, MFTI from WVCC
West Valley Counseling Center is located at 19634 Ventura Blvd. Suite 212 Tarzana, CA 91356