The holiday season can bring mixed emotions for many. For some, it’s their favorite time of year. For others, it brings feelings of sadness and loss. Seeing old friends and family members may be exciting or may bring up memories of disappointments.
Did you ever get together with your family and notice you’ve all of a sudden become that 13 year old teenager again who’s arguing with your parents or siblings? Or perhaps you find yourself looking at a sibling and thinking for the first time in 20 years, “mom always loved her better”. Sometimes, when we see family members we revert to old childhoodpatterns which may hurt us and remind us of difficult times. Even though we think we’ve worked through these patterns, they just seem to crop right back up.
Feeling depressed or anxious is not unusual during the holiday season. Upcoming dinners, parties, family or friend gatherings may cause a great deal of stress. These feelings may be even worse for those who have experienced divorce, lost a love one, are living far from family and friends, etc.
Here are some tips to “Beat the Holiday Blues”:
#1 Keep your regular routine.
A change in routine can lead to additional stress. Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings that you normally go to, and stick to as normal a diet as you possibly can.
#2 Think Moderation.
While it may be easy to drink and eat too much at parties and special dinners, we should try not to overindulge with food and/or alcohol. Remember, eating and drinking may feel like they temporarily “ease the pain” of the holidays blues, but they can also lead to feelings of guilt.
#3 Be realistic, try not to expect the “ideal” holiday.
So many of us have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like and are very disappointed when they don’t live up to those expectations. Try to be realistic, remember, nobody has a perfect holiday or perfect family.
#4 Stay connected.
Make sure to leave time to spend with friends and/or family who value you. And if they don’t live close by, call them for a “reality check”, for some “grounding”. Remember to ask for support if you need it.
#5 Throw guilt out the window.
Try not to put unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy, to rejoice, or even to enjoy the holidays. Likewise, try not to over-analyze your interactions with others. Give yourself a break this holiday season.
#6 Don’t be alone, if you don’t want to.
If you anticipate spending the holidays alone, try to volunteer somewhere, in a soup kitchen, with children in group homes, or the elderly in various facilities. People will so appreciate you, you may feel better about yourself, but most of all, you’ll have company.
Source: Psychology Today