The Holiday Season can be a time filled with celebrations and reconnecting with friends and loved ones. For some it is a time of year to look forward to and enjoy, for others not so much.
Events like family dinners and office holiday parties can trigger a wide range of emotions, including anxiety and feelings of loneliness. The expectations we set for ourselves and the “ideal” holiday season are usually not met. Setting realistic expectations for ourselves and our family can help minimize feelings of loneliness, anxiety during the most “wonderful” time of the year.
- Difficult relatives and conversations
We often encounter well meaning friends and family around the holidays who bring up personal or political topics we are uncomfortable discussing with them. For example, if a well meaning aunt asks about your relationship status, it is ok to offer to discuss this topic after the holidays.
It is important to validate that your aunt cares about you so she does not feel hurt. You can say something like, “ I know you care about me but let's discuss this over brunch in January.” then offer a neutral topic of conversation such as your aunt's new yoga class to show you are interested in her life.
- Avoiding Toxic people.
While some family and friends we can not avoid and need to learn to “manage” we do not have to attend every event we are invited to and visit with people we know may trigger us. It is okay to decline an invitation, especially in these times of Coviid people will understand. Send a gift and stay home.
3.Exposure to Light
Regular exposure to light that is bright significantly improves depression and “winter blues” as the days grow shorter and the cold keeps us indoors more . In addition to treatment of symptoms of “SAD” Seasonal affective disorder, phototherapy can help with feelings of sadness and anxiety around the holidays. Phototherapy is available in the form of light boxes which are used about 30 minutes daily.
4. Connect and Reconnect
Use the holidays as an opportunity to reach out to friends and colleagues you may not have seen in a while. Send an email or text to an old friend who might love to hear from you. You have the power to make someone's holiday special. If you had a disagreement with a family member, think about reaching out and making amends. This can be a powerful tool in letting go of old stressors and starting fresh in the New Year.
5. Find Perspective
Coviid has given us an opportunity to take stock in what is truly important to us. We can view the holiday season now in 2021 in an entirely different perspective than we did before the Pandemic. Having realistic expectations of what we expect from ourselves and our family and friends is now possible so that we can focus on what matters most to us. What we “should” be doing during the holidays is no longer relevant.
The Holidays can bring with it a mix of emotions including anxiety, loneliness and sadness. However knowing your limits and reconnecting can be a powerful tool in finding joy . Tis the Season...